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Ringing at all hours after midnight and depression

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by ElaineW, Jan 18, 2015.

  1. ElaineW

    ElaineW Registered User

    Oct 18, 2012
    I have been caring for my mum for almost 7 years now with Alzheimer's. Things have taking a downward turn since Xmas. Mum has no appetite, her mood is very low, behaviour to the carers appalling, she refuses medication and has no interest in anything (although she only ever knitted squares or reads the same page from a book over and over again any way). She has been staying in bed until lunch time saying she has nothing to get up for (she's always been an early riser and up at 8.30 a.m). She is saying she wishes she were dead and if it wasn't for her cat she would take her own life! She was on Citalopram up until the end of November but diarrhoea became a very big problem so that tablet and several others were stopped. Loperamide has been added in three times a day (when we can get her to take it) which seems to help the diarrhoea and also Sertraline which was started 3 days ago - the day after the first dose of Sertraline she had D & V again so I am hoping this was just a co-incidence and not a quick acting side effect from it. I am putting all my hopes on it working to lift this big black cloud over her; its my lifeline at the moment. Along with all this she is ringing me most evenings usually between 1 a.m. and 5.00 a.m. It has been happening so regularly that I have had to block her number from my phone between 12 and 6 a.m. as I am getting no rest by day or night. AM I WRONG IN DOING THIS, I WILL FEEL SO GUILTY if anything happens during the night? I have personalised my answer phone so it tells her to go back to bed and I will ring her in the morning, so she can still leave a message but this hasn't stopped the phone calls. At least by doing this though; I am not aware that the phone is ringing and when I wake during the night (which I always do) I can check for any messages. Sometimes the messages are very irate, sometimes she just puts down the phone. 13 calls one night last week.:eek: It's starting to take its toll on me and I am at breaking point with everything. Dementia, diarrhoea, vomiting and depression is certainly not a good mix. I am an only child so have no one to share the care and she has no other family. Has anyone experienced any of this and is there any light at the end of the tunnel? She just wants me there 24/7 and I feel utterly drained and at the end of my tether. God, this seems to have helped just sharing all this with someone. :). I know many are thinking time for a care home which is probably right but she would hate it - and when I do sometimes mention this to her she goes wild. I am 100% certain she would hate it. Thanks for reading this. xx
  2. notsogooddtr

    notsogooddtr Registered User

    Jul 2, 2011
    She might not hate it as much as you fear,she will definitely hate the idea of it though.The point is it's not just about your Mum it's about you too.And you sound as though the end of your tether is very close.I know how stressful it is trying to find solutions for escalating problems,it's just a finger in the dike,as soon as one thing is sorted something else pops up.I wish I'd faced up to the inevitable before I did,Mum and Dad both in full time care now,I can sleep a bit better and can relax for the first time in years.
  3. florabunda

    florabunda Registered User

    Nov 13, 2014
    I think you know in your heart of hearts that it is time for a care home. You will feel far less guilty if you do your research now and find a home that suits your mum, rather than leaving it until there is a crisis and she has no choice but to go into the nearest place, which may not be so good.
    There is no ideal outcome with dementia. Your mum might never be happy wherever she is - she doesn't sound too happy now! But if you find a care home where the staff are prepared to work with you, that is as good as it is going to get.
    Best wishes.
  4. Witzend

    Witzend Registered User

    Aug 29, 2007
    SW London
    95% of people will say, if asked, that they hate the thought of a care home. But in later stages of dementia it may be the only practical solution, and many people do very well in them.
    I would not mention it to your mother again - but if you think the time has come, do your research on the quiet. Plenty of us have had to get our loved ones to their care homes by stealth because we have known they would refuse to go. None of us likes it, but if someone now needs 24/7 care and supervision - ALL day, ALL night, day in, day out, and it can't be provided any other way, then we don't have much choice.

    Please don't feel bad about blocking the nighttime calls. You cannot do without sleep - if your own health fails you will be no use to your mother anyway. Incidentally, incessant phone calls to my brother - up to 30 an hour - were one of the reasons our mother finally went into a care home. The strain was seriously beginning to affect his health, and he is usually a pretty robust type. There is only so much one person can take. It must be so very hard for you, being an only child and having nobody to share it with.
  5. Lulabelle

    Lulabelle Registered User

    Jul 2, 2012
    South West France
    My Mum hated the idea of a care home too and we had quite a job persuading her to give it a go but now, having been there for a month, she loves it.

    Loneliness is a very depressing thing and I think Mum has realised that, in the care home, she has company when she needs it and her own space when she doesn't.

    I have peace of mind knowing she is safe, well cared for, well-fed and has no more worries.

    To me it's a win-win but I realise its not the same for everyone.
  6. Solihull

    Solihull Registered User

    Oct 2, 2014
    West Midlands
    I agree with others, it is time to do the kindest thing and look for 24 hour care for your mom provided by others who are used to all of these problems which many of us on here have tried to cope with but soon realise we are not super-human. A good care home will eventually be accepted, like my mom who I always thought would hate it. Don't talk about it to your mom, just look around and talk to different care homes, they will advise you and should assess your mom.Take it day by day but start NOW. Sometimes there is no choice. What happens if you are ill? Unfortunately things will get worse and you need to be well enough yourself to make all the decisions and then live your life and visit your mom who I am sure will be better than you think.
    Thinking of you,
  7. Gigglemore

    Gigglemore Registered User

    Oct 18, 2013
    British Isles
    Caring for your Mum for 7 years is a long time and you have seen that nothing gets easier. Maybe she will settle with the new medication but you know there will have to be a long term solution as her condition will deteriorate.

    Controlling the phone calls to improve your sleep was very wise, you need to sleep.

    I agree with the other posters, please start looking at homes now - good homes have waiting lists. You need to have some light at the end of the tunnel, although you know from reading other threads that the care home decision can be a painful one for the carer. You will also see some very positive threads about how well some mums have settled.

    You said you are at breaking point - so you need to look after YOU. Sadly your Mum can no longer do this, so looking out for your own health is your job too. Don't let her down by letting this illness destroy your health - we know that it will sadly steal hers. Take care.
  8. cold feet

    cold feet Registered User

    Nov 19, 2010
    Non stop phone calls was the breaking point for my brother and I (1500 calls in one month!). It told us Mum really was not happy to be alone, and a care home was the only way to offer 24 hour care. It was not an easy transition, but she settled after a couple of weeks. I was close to a breakdown from the stress of the calls.
  9. I'm going through a phase, which might be a bit annoying, of "I learnt this the hard way, please don't do the same"...

    The calls I had weren't non-stop, as it were, but they were at totally unpredictable times day and night, leaving me with never a full 8 hours sleep, and very manipulative. It took me far too long to cotton on to "Can you come now" "What's happened?" "The fuse has blown" = genuine crisis he can't cope with because of dementia vs "Can you come now" "What's happened" "Mumble, mumble, I can't explain, I need you now." = lonely.

    One thing I tried with Dad that didn't work but I've heard works with some people who just need a few minutes' human contact is to see if you can get someone hooked on helplines instead. It might seem a bit much, but if you rotate the numbers you give them, it won't inundate one line. (E.g. lots of different Sams branch numbers, Silverline, Prayerline etc.) Obviously, I'm not recommending this if you think they'll call for hours at a time.
  10. rhubarbtree

    rhubarbtree Registered User

    Jan 7, 2015
    North West
    Your post brought back to me my mil's behaviour many years ago. Calls day and night about burglars etc. If we left the answerphone on it was my voice she heard and she would beg me to let her speak to her son. Heartbreaking. He did visit everyday but the visit didn't register for long. She did eventually go into a care home and settled straight away. It seemed as though the fear went away. It must be awful being alone and worried.
  11. Liz57

    Liz57 Registered User

    Dec 22, 2013
    Elaine as I'm in a very similar position (although at the moment my mum's calls are during the day and often when I'm at work). I am caring alone and I can 100% understand how daunting it can be to make the decisions all by yourself, do the legwork and then carry it all out, especially when sleep deprived. I haven't got an answer but I have found an anti depressant prescribed for my mum seems to help her get back into the sleep at night, awake during the day routine, so I'd definitely recommend speaking to the doctor again.

    Being a lone carer is incredibly challenging. I often think it's the carer that needs a carer (if you see what I mean)!
  12. ElaineW

    ElaineW Registered User

    Oct 18, 2012
    Add a title

    Thank you for your feedback, mum has been on Sertraline for almost 2 weeks now with no change. Just wondered what medication your mum is taking? Now I can't get mum to eat, it's just one thing after the other. :eek:
  13. Herbaltea

    Herbaltea Registered User

    Jul 23, 2012
    We went through this too, its tough on everyone. My Mother is now in a care home, she is well taken care of, happy and to be totally honest, her quality of life has increased compared to what it was. She is safe, warm, well fed and I would also say that she is loved by the carers too. It took a long time to get to this position and I won't go into it all now, but I can sleep at night without worrying. I still feel guilty about lots of things, but, I know that my Mother going into the care home was the right thing to do. None of this is easy. I agree with the others too, that you have to take care of you too. Sending my best wishes.
  14. Liz57

    Liz57 Registered User

    Dec 22, 2013
    Mums on tramazole or something like that. It's not perfect and she's going through a bad patch at the moment but at least she sleeps at night. Life is better when you get a few hours sleep at night. Keep on at the doctor to get her settled.

    I have to say, however, I'm on my way to getting her into a care home now. I know it will be better for her as she's a socialable sort and will enjoy interacting with others. I need to sort out POA first. My mum has just started at Day Care. So far so good although she was subdued today when I collected her. I think she's in her "army" days which sometimes happens when she's poorly. Thinks she's being discharged from the army and doesn't want to be. It does tend to depress her a bit. I'm going to get her checked out again by the gp just in case.

    Good luck
  15. Pear trees

    Pear trees Registered User

    Jan 25, 2015
    #15 Pear trees, Jan 29, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2015
    I have had similar problems with repeated calls durng the day from 5.00am onwards.
    I now call my mother in the afternoon after my sister in law has visited mormings which settles her for evening. I remind her of next day's lunch club transport times and when SIL will visit which reassures her, and chat about the day she has had, and visit as often as possible. She looks forward to the call. She has a panic button but so far has only used it in real emergencies.
    It would be good to look at care homes before there is a real crisis.
  16. Sweet

    Sweet Registered User

    Jun 16, 2014
    Constant phone calls seem to be a constant pattern with dementia.

    My mum in the early stages was ringing me all the time and pulling the cord in her sheltered accommodation. It drove me and my brother mad, as it was direct to the paramedics who got called out in the middle of the night.

    Eventually after a lot of sorting she went into respite, then a CH and was just so much happier. She needed people around her.
  17. ElaineW

    ElaineW Registered User

    Oct 18, 2012
    Thank you very much for your info. Mum's anti depressants have now been changed to Mirtazapine. the night times calls are not so frequent now or persistent but still happening from time to time. I hope you get your loved one settled in a care home soon, my mum hates socialising, we took her to a day centre a few weeks ago and she was brought home within the hour in a dreadful state. It's no wonder they get depressed, I do wonder how much insight they have but they must get so fed up with what their lives have become and things they can no longer do. So very upsetting. xx

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