Mum sleeps all the time

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Isabella, May 9, 2015.

  1. Isabella

    Isabella Registered User

    Jan 4, 2014
    I know this is a topic that comes up a lot, but I went to visit my mum in the care home today and she was asleep yet again when I arrived. She woke up for all of 30 seconds when I got there and then just went back to sleep. I stayed half an hour in case she woke up again but she was snoring contentedly so I gave up and left. The staff say she's sleepy all the time and she's been checked by GP on many occasions who find no medical cause.

    I used to think she slept because of boredom because she'd wake up and be all cheerful when I visited. In the last few months, though, she just goes back to sleep almost as soon as I arrive, lasting only a matter of a couple of minutes (today's 30 seconds was her new record!) before drifting off again. If it's just boredom, wouldn't a visitor be enough to keep her awake?

    I feel guilty for only staying a short while, but what is the point when she's asleep? I feel like I'm letting her down by not visiting her properly but it doesn't seem to matter to her anyway. Does anyone else have this? What do you do about visiting if the person is literally asleep all time?

    I know this is part of the disease but after everything we've been through together I finally feel like there's nothing left that I can do for her, and it's an odd feeling. I'm not sure what to do now.
  2. sunlover

    sunlover Registered User

    Dec 6, 2011

    Is she on any sleeping tablet?or any medication with a side affect? Ask to see her medication chart.
  3. Witzend

    Witzend Registered User

    Aug 29, 2007
    SW London
    I do sympathise. My mother is often asleep when I visit - she might open her eyes briefly but very often nods off again soon afterwards. This is happening more and more - she is 96 with advanced AD. I always take a book now, or my Kindle, and just sit beside her, often holding her hand. Or I will chat to the staff or other residents, some of whom are not nearly so advanced. My mother hasn't seemed to recognise me for ages now - she will sometimes try to say something, but except for the odd thing like 'thank you' it all comes out gibberish.
    I honestly don't think it makes much difference to her any more whether I go or not, but I still do, though usually not more than once a week now. The care home is very good, but I still feel that apart from anything else, it's good for the staff to know I will be coming in.
    Sorry, not much help, I know.
  4. cerridwen

    cerridwen Registered User

    Dec 29, 2012
    Hi Isabella, I was told by my Dad's dementia nurse that he sleeps a lot for two reasons; 1. He is not getting enough cognitive stimulation to keep him awake and 2. It takes a person with dementia so much effort to comprehend the world that it exhausts them mentally. He told me it is, unfortunately, quite normal and as the illness progresses the person with dementia will spend more and more time asleep or dozy.
    We are lucky here in Gloucestershire in some ways. The are so many older people with dementia that the NHS has set aside funding for specialist dementia nurses. My Dad's nurse knows much more about dementia than his GP and can always offer useful insights and tips. The problem is that he has nearly 100 patients in his care in the community, so unless there is a developing situation or an enquiry, he only sees his patients once a year. Having said that, he is always on hand to answer queries and questions.
    You might find that your Mum is sleepy for the same reasons as my Dad.
    Jane xx
  5. Gigglemore

    Gigglemore Registered User

    Oct 18, 2013
    British Isles
    Just a thought Isabella - does your mum feed herself or does she have to be fed and given drinks by staff? This may not be possible for you, but if she has to be hand fed perhaps you could arrange with the care home that you would visit at a pre-arranged meal time once or twice and do the feeding?

    Your mum is presumably woken anyway to be offered food, and you might get satisfaction from being able to chat to her while helping her to eat. Sorry if this isn't a practical idea for you.
  6. Dustycat

    Dustycat Registered User

    Jul 14, 2014
    North East
    My Mum used to sleep a lot and I used to get frustrated thinking I'd made the effort to visit just to watch her sleep. I used to keep my visits short but obviously stay longer if it was a good day. Xx
  7. Spamar

    Spamar Registered User

    Oct 5, 2013
    OH is in respite with a view to permanent stay, but he is just the same. He can fall asleep in a trice. Today I spent more time chatting to carers than him, at least he was reasonably glad to see me, sometimes the reverse is true.
    This must be taken in context in that at home he would sleep 23/24 hours a day if allowed.
  8. paulinem

    paulinem Registered User

    Jun 12, 2012
    My Dad always seems to be asleep too!

    Hi, I was searching to see if anyone else has similar issues with sleepy relatives. My Dad has been in a care home for 5 years now. He has gradually become more and more sleepy and very rarely recognises me. It was his birthday last week and I baked him a cake and took it in to him, but he was in such a deep sleep that he was not aware that it was his birthday. I have asked his GP if any of his medication could be the cause, but the only response I got was "elderly people in a locked environment can spend long periods alseep"! The carers wake him for food and he eats extremely well, but falls straight back to sleep. My Mum shares a room with him and she has Parkinson's with related dementia - she is the opposite awake most of the time and very unpredictable, sometimes good, sometimes screaming and agitated. It is so difficult, I take each visit knowing that it can be completely different from the last. There have been rare occasions when my Dad is awake and very alert and can hold a conversation, albeit very muddled. The last time he was awake he told me he had just played a game of football! I am always thrilled when he "comes back to life" however, if I try and wake him he can be really cross and that makes me sad. Hope you don't mind me sharing my woes!:confused:

  9. Isabella

    Isabella Registered User

    Jan 4, 2014
    Thanks for all the replies. I've checked and it doesn't look like medication is the reason. There have been better days since, so I just have to keep hoping for the best. I just sit and hold her hand while she sleeps and it's quite comforting to me, I hope it is for her too at some level.
  10. B L H

    B L H Registered User

    Jun 1, 2015
    Thurrock Essex

    Dear Isabella
    I have just read your message and the kind replies. My wife has recently started to sleep during the day and I was going to the GP tomorrow as I was not sure the sleeping was expected or her medication. You have put my mind at rest on this, Thank you.

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