Registered User
Apr 26, 2006
As a 24/7 carer for my wife I am aware that I must pay attention to my own health and well being. You know the sort of thing, don’t take unnecessary risks, eat properly, drive carefully and, above all, get plenty of rest when possible.

Recently my nights have been disturbed as Jean sometimes regresses into babyhood where she lies in bed and talks to her fingers and hands for hours on end. It’s not talking, of course, more repeated “Dun Dun Dun Da Da Da”, noises repeated over and over again.

Unfortunately, unlike babies whose noises are generally subdued and interspersed with giggles, Jean’s repeated noises start off quietly and then gradually rise in volume to a pitch which never fails to wake me up.

I can’t stop it by talking to her and any attempts to calm her down and ‘shush’ her back to sleep have no effect. The only thing I can do is to go and sleep in the other bedroom and let her get on with it.

This happened a couple of nights ago. In bed by 11, she started “talking” within 15 minutes of lying down and, by 12.30, I had had enough and took myself off to the other bedroom.

At 2.00am on a very cold morning I was awakened by a sound I had not heard before.
Perhaps some of you can remember the old Hammer Horror films some of which recreated the atmosphere of the inside of a lunatic asylum where the laughter there was not one of joy and happiness but of a harsh, sarcastic, grating and mindless type. The cackle of witches who are bent on evil doings or the hollow, maniacal laughter of demons as they torment their victims. It was the laugh of someone whose natural happiness and love had been turned into despair.

By now you probably think I am going over the top. Demons, witches, asylums, all products of an over active imagination. Has he been eating cheese before bedtime? Was it just the result of a disturbed sleep pattern?

All I can say is that Jean’s “laughter” that night struck a chord of fright, genuine fright in me to such an extent that it was a good 10 minutes before I could get up, go into her bedroom to check that she was ok. By that time she had calmed down and reverted to playing with her fingers and talking to her hands again.

I don’t think I will be affected in such a way again and am treating the incident as another facet of the Alzheimers disease. Just an addition to the 1001 things I have had to get used to over the last 14 years.


Registered User
Mar 24, 2012
Oh grommit how frightening, sometimes I think what next, we always have to be prepared for the unexpected, I don't blame you for finding it disturbing,

Best Wishes Jeany xx


Registered User
Nov 28, 2005
I am so sorry Grommit. Hopefully you will not experience the same again but anything similar may well be worth discussing with the GP/Consultant - just in case they can offer some help.


Registered User
Feb 4, 2011
I'm sorry too, Grommit. I often read your posts quite selfishly, because they're such a "good read" - describing so well the twists and turns of dementia and the constant challenges that all carers must learn to surmount or circumvent. Your posts are every carer's post - true loving care infused with humour, exasperation, frustration and a good dollop of JP's sense of the "absurde".

And then just occasionally, there's some other chilling, tricksy little twist that catches even the most seasoned carer off guard. I hope Mrs Rochester doesn't reappear for both your sakes.


Volunteer Moderator
Aug 31, 2003
How disturbing and frightening Grommit. I can understand the need to sleep in another bedroom and have done that myself. Not because of noises but Bill's restless leg syndrome.

I wondered too if it would be worth discussing this with the GP.


Registered User
Jun 8, 2012
How frightening, like you just when you think you have seen it all, there is something new to surprise us.


Registered User
Apr 26, 2006
Quick update that may be helpful.

After discussions with the Mental Health Team and other professionals the only idea that they could come up with was the administration of sleeping pills to quieten Jean down during the night.

I disliked that idea on several grounds, such as the addictive nature of pills and the after effects like headaches and decided to explore another route.

It seemed to me that Jean was regressing into babyhood with her constant mutterings in bed and taking to her hands and fingers. It also occurred to me that distraction maybe a good way to solve the problem. So I bought a baby's cot mobile to attach to a chair at the side of her bed.

Highly colourful, revolving and projects subdued lights onto the ceiling as well as playing classical music such as Griegs "Morning" from his Peer Gynt Suite.

I set the thing up so that it was dangling over her midriff whilst lying down, in case she took exception to it and attacked it.

I am happy to say that, over the last two nights, I have not heard a peep out of her in spite of the fact that I have not actually turned it on as yet.

She seems either curious about it or maybe a little afraid, hard to tell which as she has no speech at all. In any case she sleeps and even turns slightly so that she is not fully flat on her back.

Early days yet but I am very happy with the results so far and still have a 'fall back' position where I can turn it on if necessary.

Thanks everyone for the responses.