Sharing a bedroom with someone with dementia - good idea or not?

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by Doreen99, Jan 18, 2008.

  1. Doreen99

    Doreen99 Registered User

    Jan 12, 2008
    #1 Doreen99, Jan 18, 2008
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2008
    I'm here again, to pick the brains of those with more experience than me!

    My ma-in-law's bedroom is the width of the stairs and landing away from mine. When the restlessness and not sleeping started, I got a baby alarm, so I could hear her if she started moving around, etc.

    Only problem is, sometimes I'd hear noises I couldn't identify, so I'd go into check and she was just doing something harmless, like removing all the pillowcases! But when she saw me, she'd start with "I want to go home", and it'd be ages before I could get her to settle again.

    I certainly wasn't getting a great deal of sleep. It's now occurred to me that it might be better if I moved in with her. There's enough room for another single bed, with a bit of shifting things round, and I wouldn't be lying there wondering what she was getting up to. Plus, I thought she might settle better if I was somewhere she could see me?

    We've shared a room when on holiday and, as long I wear one of those eye masks (because she sleeps with the light on) I haven't found it a problem.

    If anybody has experience of sharing, I'd be very grateful for your views.

    PS - How very crass of me, of course people with partners with dementia must share bedrooms and beds with them. I can only apologise, sometimes I concentrate so hard on my own particular problems, that I don't give thought to other people. Sorry.
  2. SusanB

    SusanB Registered User

    Jan 15, 2008

    You weren't being at all crass, don't worry. I'm sure that noone thought that!

    Regarding your question, there are probably no clear answers. It does, however, mean that you get very little "private" time for yourself if you decide permanently to share. Do you know how your mother in law would feel about it? Has she, for example expressed a wish for you to be there?

    Sorry - no clear answers.
  3. gigi

    gigi Registered User

    Nov 16, 2007
    East Midlands
    Hello Doreen,
    You weren't being crass!

    My husband has AD and we sleep apart-mainly because he "claims" that when we sleep together I wake him up-either by kicking him out of bed or scatching his neck with my feet:)eek:)..or snoring..or something else..

    We both agreed to this over a year ago-we have seperate bedrooms and it works in a way-I don't sleep well anyway-always one ear open for him-but I do get some sleep.

    My concern for you is that if you move into the same room you'll hear everything and never get any sleep..but maybe you don't anyway..

    I agree with clear answers..perhaps try it and see how it two cases are the same and we're all looking for answers..If it gives you peace of mind I see no harm in it-except that you are setting a precedent-if it doesn't work you may be back to square one with a few minuses..Once you move in it might be difficult to move out if it doesn't work..

    Sorry-not much help really..let us know.

    Love Gigi x
  4. BeckyJan

    BeckyJan Registered User

    Nov 28, 2005
    I agree with the others - it is so hard to say. My experience is only that I still sleep in the same bed as my husband. We are separate in many ways but at least I can hear if there are any mishaps.

    If I decided to sleep in another room I think I would be tossing and turning all night long - wondering if all was well.

    I just wonder if you should give it a whirl for say 3 nights. Explain it as if you were on holiday. You do have to remember that you could be losing your own privacy.

    As in dementia, each case is different.

    Take care Jan
  5. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    I have to say I think you might be underestimating just how disturbed your sleep will be if you share a room. Personally, I found the broken sleep the most difficult aspect to handle. Have you considered safety proofing her room and then getting a pressure mat that sounds an alarm if she moves outside it? I can understand that you don't want her wandering around at night but I don't think you have to actually be IN the room to keep her safe. With a pressure pad and a safety proofed room you can maybe let her get on with her nocturnal rearrangement of the pillow cases without your sleep being disturbed. You'll need all the sleep you can get.
  6. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    near London
    I slept with Jan until she left home for the last time.

    I wouldn't do it for anyone else, other than a child.

    Jan also wanted the light on, which was a real pain for me, but her needs were greater than mine, so it was a minor price to pay - I bought a night light, which worked for us.

    I found I learned to sleep so lightly I could hear her body slump slightly as she fainted in her sleep [one of her symptoms].

    After 6 years of her being in the care home I have at last managed to sleep less lightly.

    Doreen, you weren't being at all crass - sleeping in the room with a partner is one thing. Sleeping in a room with a parent, or parent-in-law is quite another, in my opinion.

    We all have limits to what we can offer in life, and that includes in caring. This would be beyond my limits, I'm sorry to say.

    You are an amazing person even to consider it. :)
  7. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    SW Scotland
    I too slept with John until he went into hospital. But then, we always had slept together, and it would have been just another upset to move out. I couldn't have done that.

    But there were some very disturbed nights, and I'm still not sleeping well. I miss my cuddles.

    Doreen, I don't think I could have done that for a parent, though I don't know, I was never in that position.

    All you can do is try, and see how it goes.

    I join with the others in my admiration for what you are doing. And I can't imagine any question about caring that would be regarded as crass here.

  8. Nell

    Nell Registered User

    Aug 9, 2005
    All you can do is try, and see how it goes.

    Dear Doreen,
    I agree with Hazel. Could you try putting a single bed in her room and using it for a few days to see how it goes? If you leave your room "as is" you can return to it if the experiment doesn't work - or just for some quiet and private time when you need it.

    Like others on TP I am so full of admiration for your efforts for your dear "ma-in-law". You are giving so much thought and care to how to make things work when she comes home. I'm sure she knows deep down in her heart how lucky she is to have you.

    Hope you can get some sleep before she comes home. Have you tried Valerian (herbal sleep remedy)? Works well for some people. Every best wish.
  9. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    Dear Doreen,

    I still share a bed with my husband, unless he falls out with me and then he sleeps on the sofa. :(

    Sometimes when he`s very confused, he thinks it`s my room only and asks where he should sleep. But he is happy to share, usually.

    But we have shared for 45 years so it`s a continuation of what has always been.

    I understand your anxiety about your MIL getting up in the night and coming to harm. It did happen to the wife of a friend. It would happen with me.

    So as with everything concerned with Alzheimers, it`ll be a case of trial and error. As others have said, if you try it out for a temporary period, you`ll soon see whether or not it`s a good idea.

    Please let us know how it works out, if you do decide to share.

    Love xx
  10. alfjess

    alfjess Registered User

    Jul 10, 2006
    south lanarkshire
    Hi Doreen

    My SIL looks after my MIL and does a sterling job, she is a star.

    MIL was restless at night, so MIL'S bedroom was made as safe as possible, then the occupational therapist ordered a beam across MIL's bedroom door. If she opened the door to leave her bedroom an alarm would go of, in SIL'S bedroom.

    My SIL found she slept better, secure that if Mum left her bedroom the alarm would wake her.

    Could something like this work? Your MIL could rumage without coming to any harm, without you having to sleep in her bedroom

    Good luck
  11. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    I have to say, and please, I don't want anyone to take this the wrong way, but this discussion reminds me a bit of when my children were at the toddler stage. Both of them were incredibly early risers (goes with the territory I think) and for both of them I put an alarm on their doors (and a fairly high catch on my son's after he managed (don't know how) to get out of his room without the alarm going of, go downstairs, and make scrambled egg in the microwave at the tender age of 2 1/2:eek::eek:) and made sure there was nothing in their rooms that could harm them. It generally allowed us an additional hours sleep in the morning. My point being - they were safe but I knew if they started to wander, which I guess is what you want to achieve with your ma-in-law.
  12. Linda Mc

    Linda Mc Registered User

    Jul 3, 2005
    Nr Mold
    We have a "Smart Lodge" in my area it has all sorts of aids for many disabilities.

    When I visited I noticed a small tv screen (don't know the tech name)it was used so you could watch what was going on with someone whilst they were in another room a bit like CCTV I suppose wonder if that would solve your problem?

  13. Taffy

    Taffy Registered User

    Apr 15, 2007
    Hi Doreen,

    Linda's suggestion would certainly keep you in the picture with what your MIL was up to through the night. This way you would only need to respond if necessary ruling out the need to have to settle her again. Although cost maybe the thing!

    Your idea of sharing the room may work out since you have previously done so without much bother. I guess it would be best to trial it and if things worked then well and good, if they didn't...back to the drawing board. GOOD LUCK! Taffy.
  14. Doreen99

    Doreen99 Registered User

    Jan 12, 2008
    Thanks all

    Sorry, haven't logged onto TP for a few days.

    Thanks to everybody for advice and ideas. I'll certainly have a think about the alarm pad and alarm beam - and the TV Camera.

    This is such a brilliant Forum for getting ideas.:)

    I'm going to ask the Occupational Therapist at the Hospital for an assessment on Meg for a proper bed - my District Nurse advised me to.

    Apparently, if Meg is at risk - and she is in her current bed - the hospital might be able to supply me with a proper one, as they keep a supply of them for the use of patients who need them at home!

    Drat - just realised that the bed was originally mentioned on my incontinence thread - not this one!!
  15. Cliff

    Cliff Registered User

    Jun 29, 2007
    North Wales
    Dee and I sleep in the same bed. I now sleep so lightly I am sure I'd wake even if she just sits up.

    I have pressure pads by her side of bed that make sure I wake if she needs the loo.

    Goimg to sleep holding hands is something we have always done and we/I don't want to break it.

    Thinking back, I got on v well with MIL but sleeping in the same room when she had dementia - NO, even her son didn't.

    There are many alarms these days and because of the problem with advertising I'll give a retailer if you PM me
  16. lesmisralbles

    lesmisralbles Account Closed

    Nov 23, 2007
    I took him there just for test's
    I thought it would give me a rest
    I did not sleep. I could not settle
    Then I put on the kettle
    Yes it was on half past six
    But back to the hospital super quick
    He heard my feet comming down the ward
    I had come back for him
    To loud applaude
    He stood up, told me, I heard your feet
    Yes My Darling I came to meet
  17. Margarita

    Margarita Registered User

    Feb 17, 2006
    #17 Margarita, Jan 22, 2008
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2008
    My mother had a stage that she wanted to sleep in the same bed as me , she would just not settle in a bed room of her own .

    I new in my self that it was to deep emotional for me to get that close to her , because I new in the future she pass away . I just did not know what to do . So would let her sleep with me , now , then . Then when she fall asleep , I would get up sleep in her room , then she wake up looking for me wanting to sleep where I was .

    So I was going to do it like you, with 2 single beds , but was advice against it , as she would became to emotional dependable on me anyway during the day ( at that time I was caring for my mother with no support during the day ) . that it was not mentally healthy for me , I would not be able to cope with it all . CPN told me that, ( talking from mother , daughter relationship ) he just confirmed what I had been feeling .

    I detach my emotion of wanting to comfort my mother during the night , lucky found that a TV in her room on all night made her feel safe .

    How long has your mother in law , been living with you both since she had AZ ?

    As I found it took a very long time for my mother to settle living with me

    you could try it, as some one said above , just make sure you get time to yourself during the day .

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