Time for separate bedrooms?

Discussion in 'I have a partner with dementia' started by northumbrian_k, Jan 15, 2019.

  1. northumbrian_k

    northumbrian_k Registered User

    Mar 2, 2017
    At present my wife and I share the same bed, as we have done since we first started living together nearly 39 years ago. But increasingly I am becoming uncomfortable sharing so closely with someone whose personality I hardly recognise, who often doesn't change out of the clothes that she has worn day and night, whose basic hygiene has plummeted, who is increasingly careless about keeping herself and her clothes clean after using the toilet, and who seems totally oblivious to all of this.

    Our current routine starts with 8am reveille and we are together throughout the day and all evening until bed time around midnight. Then we go to bed together. At the end of such a long day of being together but apart I would appreciate some space to myself but I don't get any.

    I am thinking that it is time for us to have separate bedrooms but am worried that my wife will see this as an affront or as having some sinister purpose (her fantasy of me as a serial adulterer has subsided recently but is just waiting to be reawakened). Does anyone have tips on how to approach the subject of sleeping in separate beds in a subtle, sensitive, but effective way?
  2. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    I wish I could help. OH and I had slept in separate beds for years, almost from the beginning, as we were happier each having our personal space (I sleep like a starfish) and not having to listen to the other snore, so when it came to him being incontinent, I didn't have to have an awkward conversation. Maybe you can think up some harmless reasons like you don't want to wake her when you need the loo at night, or something like that?
  3. marionq

    marionq Registered User

    Apr 24, 2013
    For a long time my husband would come looking for me if I slept in another room. Last year I decided to try again because I like to read or listen to podcasts or the radio in bed. It is probably a sign of how he has declined that he doesn’t notice I am no longer there. My door is at right angles to the door of his room. I keep my door wide open but leave his door opened about eight inches. If he gets out of bed it triggers a sensor light which wakes me but he rarely does.

    I love having my own space and this is no reflection on a loving marriage. We are where we are.
  4. karaokePete

    karaokePete Registered User

    Jul 23, 2017
    N Ireland
    Is the bedroom big enough, and have you the cash/will to change to two single beds.

    If so you could make the move into a caring gesture as you 'don't want to disturb her', or whatever.
  5. Grahamstown

    Grahamstown Registered User

    Jan 12, 2018
    East of England
    My experience doesn’t help you directly except for you to suggest that it would be beneficial for her. We downsized over a year ago partly because I knew that his memory was deteriorating and I wanted to do it before it had gone. In fact I had to do all the paperwork. We were able to afford a small new build apartment but one which had two double bedrooms, not large, and two bathrooms and a parking space. My husband was in agreement to have our own bedrooms because he was worried about disturbing me in the night, so I was fortunate because I know friends who wish they could do this but their husbands flatly refuse. I reinforced him by saying that I didn’t want to disturb him either. We had been happily married for 54 years until Alzheimer’s disturbed the equilibrium. I am able to sleep well, he can get up and down, have all his funny bedding arrangements, thrash about as much as he likes. He does have a bad smell at times and I have to get him to shower and change every now and then. Good luck with your efforts.
  6. Baggybreeks

    Baggybreeks Registered User

    Mar 22, 2017
    It is certainly trying another room if you can. Eventually it works. Just say you won’t disturb your wife if you want to read before you sleep or any excuse, doesn’t really matter what you say.
    I did this as my husband became incontinent.
    He would get up looking for the toilet during the night, even though there was a bathroom next to the bedroom, he would go downstairs looking for the toilet. I got a stair gate with black and yellow tape strung across to the banister, all very Heath Robinson but it worked!
    I read another post saying stair gates are dangerous as an adult can climb over, which he tried once, hence the tape. And I would leave the bathroom light on as a reminder.
    Eventually pads and incontinence sheet on the bed, puddles on the floor.
    Then like a merry go round, not so merry, we had to get a single hospital bed downstairs in the spare room, and my study desk went upstairs so I could squeeze a small single bed in to be near during the night.
    And a bed alarm if he got up!
    All the stages, it’s bizarre. How dementia turns your life upside down, it will never be the same sadly.
  7. Shedrech

    Shedrech Volunteer Moderator

    Dec 15, 2012
    hi @northumbrian_k
    is there any way you could begin to stagger your bedtimes, so your wife goes to bed earlier than you .... and then start the 'I worry about disturbing you' or simply sleep in another bed and use the not disturbing you excuse if your wife notices
    if you have to go to bed together, maybe try going earler and once your wife is asleep, you move out ... if she notices, say you had a bit of indegestion and didn't want to bother her
    anything that means you gradually get a room of your own
  8. Hellyg

    Hellyg Registered User

    Nov 18, 2014
    I moved into a different by originally going to bed with him and then moving (because he snored) into the other bedroom after the light had gone out. As this did not seem to bother him when he woke in the morning I then phased in just going to bed in the other room from the outset. I guess I am saying I took a phased approach.

    Similar issues, not showering so smelling slightly, felt like a stranger to me, the snoring and simply needing a good nights sleep so I could be patient with him.

    Things have changed now as he goes to bed at 5-6pm so sleeping together wouldn’t work anyway
  9. maryjoan

    maryjoan Registered User

    Mar 25, 2017
    South of the Border
    I just told my partner that I couldn't help him if I didn't get a nights sleep and moved into another room. He once asked me would I come back to his bed - I thought that was encouraging, but when I did, he was annoyed, and took his laptop off into the room I had been using, including desk, so he could play patience. I felt awfully rejected, and have never tried to sleep with him again.
    Now he doesn't bother, and I have got used to the carers etc. knowing that we do not sleep together.
    It's just one more nail in the coffin of a once normal, loving relationship.

    Each night, I close the door behind me, and consider that is me done for the day, but it isn't, as he is up and down all night long, keeping me awake....but the sadness for you is that your loving partner of all those years, with whom you have shared a life and a bed, is now someone you really do not wish to sleep with for your own sake.....this flaming horrid disease.....
  10. Handel

    Handel Registered User

    Sep 13, 2014
    I feel so sorry after reading these comments. We've been married nearly 57 years and my husband has been my loving companion and friend and all these years. Last year after trying to sleep together in our 4ft double bed (he restless, cold and tightly wrapped in 'our' duvet) me pushed to the edge and not sleeping! I told him how tired I was and how worried I was, he suggested that he try sleeping in another room... He's never returned and now goes off to bed happily and oddly, assumes that I'll be joining him later..! He doesn't seem to be aware that we're separated. At night I help him wash and undress and tuck him into bed like a small child.. he smiles happily and I kiss him goodnight... I don't know what will happen next.. I just go with the flow.. I'm sad but I want him to be happy. He'd have done the same for me I know!
  11. Floundering

    Floundering Registered User

    Mar 28, 2017
    I moved into a different bedroom about 6 months ago. I cannot function properly if I keep getting disturbed in the night. Told my husband I needed to do this so I could look after him properly. He accepted this. I know every time he gets up to go the toilet or just wakes up as his light goes on. We do share the bed when family come to stay but this is just for the odd night. Think I must be lucky in this r spect
  12. gladiola

    gladiola New member

    Jan 3, 2019
    I am a caregiver for my OH but I developed painful arthritis in both knees, so lots of tossing and turning to try and get a pain free position at night. This resulted in arguments about how I was disturbing him so I suggested a trial of separate rooms. He didnt object and said we would give it a few weeks to see how it goes. That was three years ago and he hasnt mentioned sharing a room since we started that arrangement. Trial seemed to be the word that smoothed things over for us. Just a suggestion, good luck.
  13. gardenerb

    gardenerb Registered User

    I am nothing special. I slept in the same bed as Jennifer my wife throughout her dementia. When mobility was a problem downstairs was converted into a type of single apartment. We are fortunate enough to have a large living space. Our bed was adjacent to the garden windows. I cleaned her, made sure she had clean clothes, her commode was by the bed but looked like a regency armchair. During the last months I, with the help of district nurses ensured any bed sores were cleaned and regularly dressed.. She had accidents but they were dealt with, the floor is laminate. I spent a lot of time sitting next to her during the day just holding her hand reading or watching tv. I was laying next to her awake when she passed away. The absolute worst day of my life but with a feeling (I am ashamed to say) of absolute relief.

    I am not sure I would advise anyone to try this it was very hard but she was never alone to the end. It can be done but I wouldn't necessarily recommend it.
  14. Shedrech

    Shedrech Volunteer Moderator

    Dec 15, 2012
    hello @gardenerb
    your post is deeply moving
    I am glad you were able to care for your wife as was right for the two of you
    and that you were with her at the end
    my condolences on your loss
  15. Sarahdun

    Sarahdun Registered User

    May 18, 2014
    I adopted the phased approach described by others around one year ago. We both get a better nights sleep as a result which means my husband is up less often in the night. I use motion sensitive lights to steer him to the bathroom in the night which also increases my rest. I won’t say I never get a broken night but they are much rarer. Also as he goes to bed earlier as time goes by I love my peaceful late evenings. My one frustration is lack in f social life and never being able to enjoy an evening out. But amazing what you can adjust to. Fingers crossed it continues like this awhile.
  16. Josoap

    Josoap New member

    Mar 14, 2018
    Re Time for Separate Beds.
    My beloved husband and I had slept together in a king size bed for all our married life until along with Dementia came Incontinence, particularly bowels.
    We had all the waterproof covering etc., but in spite of me moving further and further away across our large bed, it got to the state where.I simply could not cope and simply had to sort things out for my own sanity! Fortunately we had a second bedroom with twin beds and I gently suggested that it would be so much better for both of us if he went into one of the single beds. I told him it had become so very difficult for me to constantly change the king size bedding and gently told him honestly that I was finding the smell was making me ill. He did agree that although it would be strange, he would move into the other room. Every night I took him into his bed, saw that he had everything he needed, put my arms round him and kissed him. I turned off his light, left the door ajar and went to bed myself. He is a very gentle and caring sole and never once complained thankfully. He is now in residential care in an absolutely wonderful specialist Dementia care home. He is very happy, settled and extremely well cared for and loved by all. I see him very regularly see him and in spite of my guilt, my reward is to see his face light up when he sees me. I can take him out, ear with him and just like folk said, we are now once again loving husband and wife and he never thinks of me as his Carer. Because he has already got used to having his own bed, he thinks it has always been like that. I dreaded the day he would have to go into care but bless him, our life is good again and for all the best reasons, I bless the day I broke my hip, but I still go the the Dementia Drop
    In and fully understand all the horrors of this dreadful cruel illness. We loose our loved one day by day, bit by bit but I am now in a position where I look forward to seeing him, spending time with him, loving him and having my husband back, albeit in a very different way. I hope this helps anyone, particularly if dealing with all the dreadful problems of dealing with bowel Incontinence - it nearly finished me!
  17. Grahamstown

    Grahamstown Registered User

    Jan 12, 2018
    East of England
    I am very moved by your post and perhaps it will help me to be more loving towards my dearly loved husband and also a gentle and caring man. The disease makes the sufferer so exasperating that it is difficult to feel sympathetic at times especially when the person doesn’t know what they are doing and causes harm to himself if I am not very vigilant.
  18. Debs42

    Debs42 Registered User

    Jan 27, 2013
    There's nothing wrong with separate beds if it helps to get a good nights sleep and keep some sanity. I have family and friends who are not affected by dementia, who sleep separately because its suits their lifestyle, sleeping patterns etc. At the moment I often go into the spare room at some time during the night because of problems sleeping, and I like to read or listen to the radio. I usually end up back in our double bed at some point, although my husband doesnt really notice. I get up much earlier than him anyway so he is used to being in the bed alone. My only concern is that at some point in the future he may start not being able to find the bathroom during the night, and I have visions of him peeing in the wardrobe if I dont wake up to help him! But we'll cross that when we come to it.
  19. Loopiloo

    Loopiloo Registered User

    May 10, 2010
    No life will never be the same once dementia comes into a marriage and so sad. We had separate bedroms before dementia had developed too far. My husband was a terrible snorer and I had mobility problems.in a lot of pain and moved about the bed a lot. We were disturbing each other. As dementia progressed he became more agitated about it. Of course he denied he snored said he never heard it! I was surprised how quickly he took to having his own room and he became very territorial about it. As dementia worsened he would shout at me ti "get out of my room!"

    He sometimes joined me for a cuddle then eventually that stopped. We were married 55 years before he died 2 years ago and this past September was our 60th Anniversary. We were a close and loving couple and it is sad when an illness changes so many things you never dreamt of happening years earlier.

    Good luck, some good suggestions from others.
  20. jenniferjean

    jenniferjean Registered User

    Apr 2, 2016
    Basingstoke, Hampshire
    We only have the one double bed so that's how it is at the moment. If it became too much of a problem the only thing I could do is to buy two singles, although I know he would fall out of a single. As to peeing in the wardrobe, my husband has already done that many years ago and he didn't have dementia then.

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