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Turning lights on and off at night


New member
Apr 1, 2020
Hello everyone!

New to the forum but currently caring for my 92 year old grandad in the later stages of AD. He has a good routine but when put to bed he spends hours getting up and turning lights on and off in his room. Any idea why this happens and any advice would be super appreciated!

Thank you 😊


Volunteer Moderator
Dec 15, 2012
Hello @JessB59
A warm welcome to DTP

My dad did this, and checking other switches, and pulling out plugs
At times he said he was just checking they worked, and of course as soon as something is turned off there's the worry it won't turn on again so it has to be tried again ...
at others he wanted to unplug everything electrical because that's what he did when younger when it wasn't wise to leave eg the old TVs plugged in over night

I tried turning the lights off for him, sometimes worked but other times just had to leave him to it... I thought about a night light but wondered if he'd try to turn that off too
The sockets I covered over with white card, what he didn't see he usually left alone... I covered over any standby lights too or he'd hunt for how to unplug the appliance

Just me

Registered User
Nov 17, 2013
Hi @JessB59 and welcome.

My mum does this every now and again, so much so thatshe’s changed the function of the light switches for the hall and stairs.

I think she gets confused which lights switch is for which light - hall and stairs, bedroom and landing etc.

I now have a table lamp in the hall permanently on and night lights in sockets upstairs.

She still has periods of switching lights on and off but not as frequently.


Registered User
Oct 21, 2019
Why do the people with dementia do what they do?
suss out the answer to that and you will be so rich you will be able employ a butler to supervise him!
My theory on the lights would be action/consequence.
if you think about flicking a light switch it is miraculous really, click and you get light, click and you get darkness.
If you are a person that feels that they are controlling nothing that might be an activity that makes you feel good?
i would try putting a standard or table lamp inside the room.
I would explain we had a power surge in the night and all the bulbs in the main light fitting had blown , I have removed them and I need to replace them when shopping next week .
Then see if he continues with the activity.
Remember if an older person doesn’t have enough light it could make a fall more likely.
i would go to the GP and discuss if Melatonin would help him. It isnt a drug that keeps you asleep but one that helps to drop off in the first place.
As always a small milky drink immediately before bed can be good.
If all else failed and the behaviour was stressing me out then I would call in an electrician and get him to spur off the light switch and put a new one above the door frame in the hall, so when the behaviour was driving me mad I would skip along the hall and click the master switch. The person in the bedroom could then flick the switch until the cows came home and it will do them no good!
The last cure is quite expensive. But if my mum needs care it will be £1200 a week, if spending money means they can stay in their home, then the cost of a few adaptations is small fry.
Warning, when one behaviour stops, another one often starts !