1. BristolBloke

    BristolBloke Registered User

    Mar 11, 2007
    Dear TP, a very recent joiner here and my first posting . .

    I live in Bristol, and my 93yo father is in Manchester. He lives alone but is supported by SS, and my brother and his wife who call and visit very regularly and frequently. Because I can only visit occasionally, I tend to notice changes in him more easily than the others, and in particular, I see that most of the time, our father is sleeping in his chair. Going to bed at 7 or 8pm, getting up at 5 or 6am, and I find him dressed and sleeping in front of the fire at 8am when I get up.

    Throughout the day, he seems to sleep for probably 80% of the time . . I'm not asking if this is normal, but does it mark a 'stage' in the develpment of his condition? He's peaceful, and doesn't have much to say for himself these days . . I just feel that he's begining to wind down . . .
  2. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    near London
    Hi BristolBloke, and welcome to TP
    yes, this is generally the case. When one sees someone daily, small changes tend to merge from day to day, and one doesn't notice, over time, what has become a major change, or major development. Even on a weekly basis, the addition of lots of small changes may be more visible to someone who has not been there, and if one goes less frequently still, then changes can seem quite dramatic.
    I'd be thinking, what else would he be doing, at his age and in his condition, without a person there to spur him on. So it may not be so bad. Many care homes have rooms where residents all doze away. The better homes try and utilise their staff to make residents more active.

    At home, with occasional visits, a pattern may form simply of dozing the time away. [heck, I do that, when I get a chance! ]
    I'd be thinking, yes. Often in the early stages, people are constantly active. Later, they often become more sedentary, and sleep a lot. Medication may also be an influencer here - do you know what medication he has?

    ... just my thoughts....
  3. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    SW Scotland
  4. Margarita

    Margarita Registered User

    Feb 17, 2006
    I find that a very interesting question also , as my mother is sleeping a lot lately , I did a search on the net about it and found a bit about it on the AZ site I think it was from I! had to download open with adobot reader and save it I can’t find the link sorry so have cope paste it on hear

    The nature of sleep changes in Alzheimer’s
    Scientists do not completely understand why sleep disturbances occur in people with
    dementia. Sleep disturbances associated with Alzheimer’s disease include increased
    frequency and duration of awakenings, decrease in both dreaming and nondreaming
    stages of sleep, and daytime napping. Similar changes occur in the sleep of older people
    who do not have dementia, but these changes occur more frequently and tend to be more
    severe in people with Alzheimer’s disease.
    Some people with Alzheimer’s disease sleep too much while others have difficulty
    getting enough sleep. When people with Alzheimer’s cannot sleep, they may wander
    during the night, be unable to lie still, or yell or call out, disrupting the rest of their
    caregivers. Some studies have shown that sleep disturbances are associated with
    increased impairment of memory and ability to function in people with Alzheimer’s.
    There is also evidence that sleep disturbances may be worse in more severely affected
    patients. However, a few studies have reported that sleep disruption may also occur in
    people with less severe impairment.
    Coexisting conditions may intensify sleep problems for older adults with Alzheimer’s.
    Two conditions in which involuntary movements interfere with sleep are periodic limb
    movement and restless leg syndrome. Other common conditions that disrupt sleep include
    nightmares and sleep apnea, an abnormal breathing pattern in which people briefly stop
    breathing many times a night. Depression in a person with dementia may further worsen
    sleep difficulties.
    Shifts in the sleep-wake cycle of people with Alzheimer’s can be severe. Experts estimate
    that in the later stages of the disease, affected individuals spend approximately 40 percent
    of their time in bed awake and a significant proportion of their daytime hours asleep. This
    increased daytime sleep consists almost exclusively of light sleep that compensates
    poorly for the loss of deep, restful nighttime sleep. In extreme cases, people with
    dementia may experience complete reversal of the usual daytime wakefulness/nighttime
    sleep pattern.
    Treatment of Alzheimer sleep problems
    Although widely used medications can temporarily improve the sleep disturbances of
    older adults, a number of studies have found that prescription drugs do not improve
    overall ratings of sleep quality in older people, whether they are living in the their homes
    or in residential care. Thus, the treatment benefits of using sleep medications in
    individuals with dementia may not outweigh the potential risks. To improve sleep in
    About sleep changes
    in Alzheimer’s disease
    This fact sheet is prepared in consultation with the Alzheimer’s Association Clinical Issues and Interventions Work Group.
    The information provided does not represent an endorsement of any medication or nondrug sleep intervention by the
    Alzheimer’s Association. Updated April 15, 2002.
    these individuals, the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) has encouraged use of the
    nondrug measures described below rather than medication therapy unless the sleep
    disturbance is clearly related to a treatable medical condition. It is important that the
    person experiencing sleep problems be professionally assessed for medical or psychiatric
    causes for the sleep disturbance before applying any drug or nondrug interventions.
    Nondrug treatments
    A variety of nondrug treatments for insomnia have been shown to be effective in older
    adults. These treatments, which aim at improving sleep routine and the sleeping
    environment and reducing daytime sleep, are widely recommended for use in people with
    Alzheimer’s disease. To create an inviting sleeping environment and promote rest for a
    person with Alzheimer’s:
    Maintain regular times for going to bed and arising.
    Establish a comfortable, secure sleeping environment. Attend to temperature
    and provide nightlights and/or security objects.
    Discourage staying in bed while awake; use the bedroom only for sleep.
    If the person awakens, discourage watching television.
    Establish regular meal times.
    Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine.
    Avoid excessive evening fluid intake and empty the bladder before retiring.
    Avoid daytime naps if the person is having trouble sleeping at night.
    Treat any pain symptoms.
    Seek morning sunlight exposure.
    Engage in regular daily exercise, but no later than four hours before bedtime.
    If the person is taking cholinesterase inhibitors (tacrine, donepezil,
    rivastigmine, or galantamine), avoid nighttime dosing.
    Administer drugs such as selegiline that may have a stimulating effect no later
    than six to eight hours before bedtime.
    Drug therapy should be considered only after a nondrug approach has failed and
    reversible medical or environmental causes have been ruled out. For those people who do
    require medication, it is imperative to “begin low and go slow.” The risks of sleepinducing
    medications for older people who are cognitively impaired are considerable.
    These include increased risk for falls and fractures, increased confusion, and decline in
    the ability to care for oneself. If sleep medications are used, an attempt should be made to
    discontinue them after a regular sleep pattern has been established.
    The table below lists some of the many different types of medications that can
    temporarily assist in sleep. The list includes drugs prescribed chiefly for sleep as well as
    some whose primary use is in treating psychiatric illnesses or behavioral symptoms.
    Although little is known about the safety and effectiveness of medications for treating
    chronic sleep disturbances in Alzheimer’s, all of these medications are commonly
    prescribed to treat insomnia and disruptive nighttime behaviors in Alzheimer’s disease.
    All of the medications listed here are available by prescription only and must be used
    under a physician’s supervision. The medication recommended by a physician often
    reflects the type of behavioral symptoms accompanying the sleep problems.
    Some medications commonly used in the treatment of
    insomnia and nighttime behavioral disturbances in Alzheimer’s disease
    Drug category Examples
    (generic names)
    Recommended dose
    in milligrams/day
    Potential adverse
    Nortriptyline 10 –75 Dizziness, dry mouth,
    constipation, trouble
    Trazodone 25 – 75 Dizziness, especially
    when standing or
    Benzodiazepines Lorazepam 0.5 – 2 Lethargy, confusion,
    Oxazepam 10 – 30 Dependence
    Temazepam 15 – 30 Confusion,
    Nonbenzodiazepines Zolpidem 5 - 10 Sedation, confusion
    Zaleplon 5 – 10 Sedation, amnesia
    Chloral hydrate 500 – 1,000 Sedation, nausea
    Haloperidol 0.5 – 1.5 Parkinson-like
    Risperidone 1 – 6 Dizziness, especially
    when standing or
    rising; nausea
    Olanzapine 5 – 10 Sedation
    Quetapine 12.5 – 100 Sedation; dizziness,
    especially when
    standing or rising
    Where can I get information about other Alzheimer-related issues?
    To obtain information about other important issues related to Alzheimer’s disease, please
    call our Contact Center at (800) 272-3900 or visit the Alzheimer’s Association Web site
    at www.alz.org.
  5. Noone

    Noone Registered User

    Mar 12, 2007
    I have found that if I play upbeat music fairly loudly, my charge sings along and stays awake...also stimulating them with conversation, even if you talk about the same things over and over help.
  6. DickG

    DickG Registered User

    Feb 26, 2006
    I too have found music very helpful but in my case it is used to reduce anxiety and I have used a selection of classical music on CD played continuously. I would be interested to know if upbeat music is generally found to be useful in raising the mood.
  7. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    near London
    As far as I can tell, Jan responds best to the music that she valued throughout her life. To play modern upbeat sounds causes her some agitation, but then she was a musician. She also does not like too much volume.

    ... each one a different case...
  8. cris

    cris Registered User

    Aug 23, 2006
    Yes I think the music that Susan likes helps her a lot. Yesterday we went out (garden centres) she was very quiet. We got home and in the garden I put her ipod on her. I carried on gardening, - she could see me - after a little while I could see her singing along. Later in the afternoon a neighbour came in had a coffee and chat with her and told me later how chatty she thought Susan was. Being in the garden, in the sunshine helps. I have tried playing her music in the house, and it's ok for awhile but I think she would rather watch TV.
  9. Lila13

    Lila13 Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    My mother couldn't cope with music during her last 7 months, it got in the way of the music she was listening to in her head. One of the worst things about that last hospital was compulsory noisy music.
  10. Canadian Joanne

    Canadian Joanne Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 8, 2005
    Toronto, Canada
    Sleeping can be a stage

    Hi Bristolbloke,

    My mother has gone through a couple of "sleepy" stages in her disease progression. Plus, she also had a phase of sleeping very late in the day & then up into the wee hours of the morning.

    I think lack of stimulation might play a part, meds might add a little and there is simply the disease progress itself. And as you say, perhaps he's just starting to wind down. At 93, he certainly has earned the right to a peaceful snooze now & then.


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