New Member saying Hello

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by Quack, Mar 25, 2008.

  1. Quack

    Quack Registered User

    Mar 25, 2008
    Hi All

    I'm a new poster to the forum, although I've been reading it for a while. My mum has alzheimers and my Dad is her main carer, but myself and my brother keep an eye on them both.

    What has prompted me to post is I'd like some advice on Mums behaviour. She's started going to bed a lot, sometimes mid afternoon for a couple of hours and then to bed for the night at about 6.30pm. We've tried keeping her up but it's a lost cause.

    I think some of it is boredom, she's beyond the stage of taking any interest in TV or books. Her memory span is only a couple of minutes. Our big worry is that she's missing meals, she gets up before my Dad and claims to have had breakfast and now she's missing tea as well.

    Any ideas on how to handle it or is a normal phase which she'll come out of?


  2. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    Hello Quack. :)

    I have found my husband sleeps more and eats less as his Alzheimers develops.

    He too is bored but isn`t interested in anything I suggest we do, so it`s really a `catch 22` situation. Sufferers are bored, but unable to be tempted by any activities. If they are, they only stay with it for a very short while.

    Perhaps a reduced appetite is a product of reduced activity.

    Breakfast was the most important meal of the day to my husband. He would eat as soon as he was up and dressed. Now I often have to remind him he hasn`t eaten.

    I have started to provide `little and often` small meals, rather than 3 good meals a day.

    My husband also sleeps more than he did. He used to go to bed at 1am, now he often sleeps in the chair during the evening and then goes to bed at about 10 or 11pm.

    One thing I can say. My husband is not losing weight, so he is obviously eating enough for the amount of energy he is using. Is your mother losing weight?
  3. Quack

    Quack Registered User

    Mar 25, 2008


    Overall, we think she has. The GP weighed her last week and she weighs the same as 5 years ago, though she has fluctuated since then.

    I'd been thinking about the change in mealtimes etc and bought some small pots of fruit etc.

    I'm also concerned she's tired and no energy as she's not eating enough to keep her going. She'll generally only eat half of what's on her plate so we tend to give her more than she asks for as if we give a small portion some will still be left.

    Thanks for responding.

  4. Mameeskye

    Mameeskye Registered User

    Aug 9, 2007
    Hi Quack

    My Mum also became very tired. It was a friend who had nursed dementia patients that helped me understand this stage by explaining that if you think of a normal day for a dementia patient as being like the day you sit a very important difficult exam then that is what each day is like.

    They have to think so much more to do the activities we take for granted. Then the tiredness becomes understandeable.

    It may also be worthwhile you mnetioning it to the GP so that tests can be run to eliminate more obvious causes eg anaemia, thyroid malfunction, diabetes etc.

    And finally welcome, everyone is so nice here and it really keeps you going when times are tough, eventhough I never have enough time to read and post

  5. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    You might want to be careful about the extra food on the plate approach - too large a portion on a plate was enough to actively stop my mother from eating. She went from someone who found it extremely difficult to leave food on a plate to someone who simply wouldn't eat if there was more than a small portion there.

    I think you do have to rethink meal-times when you're confronted with the frequent sleeps. Just because someone is asleep when it's normally tea-time doesn't mean that tea time can't be whenever they are awake. Little and often seems to be the mantra, and if sweet stuff is better received than savoury - well offer desert first.
  6. Philippa

    Philippa Registered User

    Feb 26, 2008
    Hi Quack. I'm sure you'll find a lot of friends and good advice on TP.

    My Dad, too, started sleeping a lot and not eating very well. I think the advice of 'little and often' is good. Dad used to enjoy porridge for breakfast which seemed to keep him going. We also found that things that were easy for him to eat (ie, stews with a spoon, or toasted cheese, say, cut up for him) were better than a mountain of food which he just couldn't manage. He didn't seem to need too much food as he wasn't using up any energy.

    As for the sleeping, there's not much you can do if someone is determined to sleep. We did find that a problem with Dad.

    This probably isn't too much help but I wanted you to know that there are people here who care. I'm sure someone else has some advice.

    Love, Philippa
  7. Margarita

    Margarita Registered User

    Feb 17, 2006
    #7 Margarita, Mar 25, 2008
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2008
    My mother eats normal meal & if she never went out she only wake for meals & then she can also sleep though it that she forget to wake up for the meal

    With my mother its not that she bored , its just that the damage in the brain has taken all her motivation away, she does try hard with a lot of promoting from me & day centre . she just can't help it . I found over the years of caring for my mother that I became her motivation that from my observation of 6 years of caring for her

    Your find that as the disease progresses you have to simulate them all the time other wise they fall asleep , because they find it hard to stay awake , it a symptom of dementia as it progresses .

    My mother go to day centre 5 days a week , look forward to it .

    when she go into respite , she come back un simulated , looking life less take me a week to get her motivation back into day centre even the day centre have pick up on it .

    How old is your mother ? If your mother gets into a routine of sleeping all the time when she wants she stay like that .

    Is they someone that can take her out , organize days out for her? would she go to day centre or is they someone to sit with your mother to give your father some time out for himself ?

    your father could put an alarm clock to wake her up during the day when she take a Nap , for meal time rather then him walking her up as she may get the hump with him ( like my mother did with me , before she went to day centre ) so I use the alarm clock to remind her of meal time during the day .
  8. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    SW Scotland
    Hi Quack

    Lots of good advice. I think it's quite normal for your mum to be sleeping more. I don't think it's just boredom, I think it's the sheer effort of trying to make sense of things all the time.

    That makes perfect sense. My husband John used to be very active, but in the later stages he slept more and more. Now, he's rarely awake between meals.

    This makes sense too. In the NH they have regular mealtimes, but there are always snacks available if people don't want a full meal. They use high-calorie food supplements in all the mousses, etc, and even in the cakes and scones. You could perhaps try this, you can buy the powder at the chemist. They use Fortisip, but there are other brands available.
  9. gigi

    gigi Registered User

    Nov 16, 2007
    East Midlands
    Hello Quack and welcome!

    My husband spends the best portion of his day asleep!
    And the rest watching TV..
    And he sleeps all night..

    He's always ready for his meals..although asks for less food to be put on his plate. I know if I wasn't here to feed him-he wouldn't eat!

    It's difficult to advise as everyone seems to be different!
    It would be a good idea to have some tests by the doctor, as Mameeskye suggested-to rule out other causes for the tiredness.
    And trial and error..smaller meals more often, perhaps. It's equally important that your mum drinks enough fluid, too..

    Love Gigi xx
  10. Quack

    Quack Registered User

    Mar 25, 2008
    Thanks folks. I'll try and get some more snacks and things in for her. I think we're just being over careful on the three meals a day and balanced diet scenario.

    Mum's 73 and has been diagnosed about 3-4 years. The GP and local mental health team have been really good and she gets 2 days a week at day centres. I've read other peoples tales of struggling to get help but we've had a good experience on the whole. We're trying to minimise the burden for my Dad as he's a similar age and not in the best of health but he does a great job day to day.

    The sleeping thing is relatively recent, the past 4-6 weeks but she did used to doze in the chair a lot, now she takes herself off to bed.

    Thanks for all your help.
  11. lesmisralbles

    lesmisralbles Account Closed

    Nov 23, 2007
    My hubby Ron, sleep's a lot. Sleep's in front of the television and only wakes up for his meal's. He is still eating, and has only lost 31b in weight, but I think that is because he is not active, the weight will be mainly muscle, I have noticed his leg's are thinner, but that must be from lack of use.
    Try little and often, it might help.
  12. heartbroken

    heartbroken Registered User

    Feb 17, 2008
    every one is different so its a matter of trial and error.
    my step mum leaves half her meals but is always hungry, we have found that when she is hungry she is more nasty, to help this she nibbles ALL the time if snacks are in sight she eats and eats,so healthy things are left lying about for her.
    a funny thing happened fri- I had a pk of crisps on seeing this she asked dad for some he went to get some but she shouted I don't want them things you have I want what Lesleys had, so he replied I will go to tesco :D he opened and closed the door, got some crisps out of the cupboard stood a min then opened and closed again she thought he had been to tesco and fetch them for her lol, she was so happy he had done that for her. I wish tesco was so close it only takes 2mins to get there be served and get back the thing we do to make them happy.
  13. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    Your father is a very clever man.:)

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