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He's not sleeping... and neither are we.
Posted: Friday, June 7, 2019 12:30 AM
Joined: 5/17/2019
Posts: 3

My husband and I live in the home of an elderly gentleman (not a relative) as paid caregivers. The man's children love their dad and want the best for him, but they don't see/experience the day-to-day problems of this disease. My husband and I are not professionals - we are simply people who care about our friend and were in a position to help out. 

My husband is retired and home with him every day. I still work full time and am home in the evenings and weekends. We are experiencing quite a lot of what I've seen family members write about on these forums, but our biggest problem at the moment is that he often refuses to sleep. Or gets up in the middle of the night and insists on dressing and staying up. Or demands that one or both of us sleep in the bed with him because he doesn't like to sleep alone. Or begs us for hours not to leave him.

The lack of sleep is taking a toll on both of us, and I'm looking for strategies to encourage him to go to sleep without the struggle, if possible. Can anyone tell me what's worked for them, if anything? Should I suggest to the man's kids that they ask a doctor to prescribe something? I absolutely don't want to drug the poor man into submission, but if a sedative at night would help him (and us) get some much needed sleep, maybe it would be worth a try?

Any advice is appreciated!


Posted: Friday, June 7, 2019 7:34 AM
Joined: 7/10/2017
Posts: 650


You might try giving him melatonin before bed.   My wife spent 3 hours per night arguing with me about going to bed, then was up half the night trying to walk out of the house.  I gave her 10mg of melatonin as gummies about a half-hour before I wanted her to sleep, and it was like magic.  Went right to sleep, no night roaming, etc.

Since melatonin is mild and cheap, you might try that as a start,  I've been giving it to my wife for several years now with no ill effects.


Dreamer Lost
Posted: Friday, June 7, 2019 9:52 AM
Joined: 3/7/2019
Posts: 452

I too give my DH melatonin and also my mom, age 81 (non-dementia) and take it myself when I can't get to sleep.  We take 5mg, it will make us sleepy and help us fall asleep but not knock us out so DH can still get up and go to the bathroom if needed.  Others have mentioned a Rx trazodone from their physician.
Posted: Friday, June 7, 2019 10:57 AM
Joined: 2/26/2018
Posts: 31

Sleep is so important and what you are describing is what I've been going through with my father the past few months.  He would wake up in the middle of the night get dressed and go sit in his recliner oblivious to the hour.  I actually brought it up with his neurologist about 2 weeks ago.  We discussed Melatonin but the neurologist said it would likely not help in this case as he didn't have an issue falling asleep but rather staying asleep and because he was confused more in the middle of the night he recommended a half dose of Quetiapine instead (12.5mg).  It's meant to be an antipsychotic but it works well as a sleep aid for some patients with dementia.  The fact that is was an antipsychotic made me hesitate but after doing some more research and getting a second opinion I started my dad on it and it has been WONDERFUL!  He's been on it about 2 weeks now, he takes it 30 minutes before bedtime and he has slept through the night every single night since starting it!!!  My dad hasn't experienced any side effects from it either.

Regarding the gentleman wanting someone to sleep with him, my only thought would be to try giving him a dog plushy toy of some sort that he might be able to cuddle with at night.  I have no idea if that would work but it's an idea.

Johns baby girl
Posted: Friday, June 7, 2019 11:04 AM
Joined: 2/26/2019
Posts: 56

We also use Melatonin.  I have noticed he gets to a point where it is ineffective, so I will take him off for a week then restart.  Has worked for us.  On the sleeping with someone, my Dad always wants my dog to sleep with him, I think he just gets scared sometimes.
Posted: Tuesday, June 11, 2019 7:52 PM
Joined: 5/17/2019
Posts: 3

Thank you everyone for your advice!  

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