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Wandering at night..what to do?
My Mom does not sleep well anymore. She no longer has a sense of the passage of time nor can she tell time. Consequently, for the past month or so she has been waking me up in the middle of the night. Sometimes it's more than once. One afternoon last week I attempted to catch up on much needed sleep. She woke me three times during a short afternoon nap.
Would sleeping pills be a good idea? I've never taken one so have no idea what they're like. I need something that will get Mom to sleep for a good 8 hours each night.
Otherwise, my only alternative is to lock her in the bedroom at night and that seems cruel.
Any ideas much appreciated.
You might want to try Melaonin. It's otc, inexpensive, an natural. DW gets 5mg on retiring, and sleeps most nights.
My mother lives with us - we added an apartment onto our home for my parents nearly 9 years ago. The past two years Mom started declining and we are also experiencing her sleepless nights and wandering. We purchased and iPhone and iWatch for her to wear, it has GPS and we can use the Find A Friend feature. Also the iWatch will automatically call 911 if she falls. We had to disconnect the aspect of holding the button too long, that would also call 911, after we had three visits from the Sheriff and Troopers. The other thing we’ve done is put motion sensors on the doors - it sounds an alarm if she goes into the garage or outside. That’s helped, and the sensors weren’t that expensive - purchased at Best Buy. Plus we can take them with us if we travel or when my siblings take Mom for a weekend.
Hope that helps a little. Good luck.
I don’t know what State you live in, but we live in Florida and I was able to get my mom a medical marijuana license. When her wandering and sundowning got out of control last fall, I did a lot of research as to what may help and found that a combination of CBD/THC oil could possibly help. - And it has made a world of difference! My mom sleeps thru the night now. She takes the oil under her toungue - once in the morning (high cbd-low THC) and then once in the evening. (Low cbd-low THC). Most states that allow for Med Marijuana have now approved licenses for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s etc. My mom is also on a low dose of Lexapro (antidepressant).
Everyone is different though. Hope you find something that helps. It’s hard.
Ok, having dealt with this for a while I have some info that may help.. To help with sleep you can try melatonin, you want to get 3mg tablets of "extended release" and I was told I could give up to 10 a night.. but you need to start with 1 then 2, etc until you see how they react to it.
The reason you do NOT want to use sleeping pills is that they can make people VERY unsteady and a fall in the middle of the night could be much worse for an elderly person.. I know my mom fell flat on her face.. hardwood floor..it was awful.
as for THC/CBD.. Yet another bad idea unless they are in very good shape physically.. my Mom did not have the ability to walk after she tried a low dose.. and I discontinued ..after the affects wore off she could walk again.. close call..
It is very hard and I do end up losing a lot of sleep.. but for safety reasons you cannot lock them in a room.. if there is a fire they could be in danger of locked up.. and if anyone saw u locking someone up in a home you can he turned into Adult protective services..
I use a loud bell on the outside of the door.. and you can also put a flip lock (like from hotel rooms) on the front door to make it harder to figure out how to open..
Thank you everyone for your excellent ideas. Mom's doctor phoned this afternoon and she suggested Melatonin 5mg to start. She prefers to reserve the sleeping pills as a last resort. I purchased the Melatonin today so we'll see how that goes.
Melatonin may help your mom, but 5mg is way too much to start with. You actually want to start really low, between 1-2 mg. Most people start out at .05 mg and if needed go up to 3mg. I’m surprised your Dr. suggested 5mg to start.
“ People commonly make the mistake of assuming that taking higher doses of melatonin will lead to better shut-eye. But the opposite is true: Too much taken at once can cause headaches, nausea, dizziness, or irritability, all of which can disrupt your sleep.” - (quoted from Cleveland Clinic)
Hope this works for you. Report back if you can.
About two years ago DH was not wandering but extremely restless all night long. Tossing, turning, moving sheets and blankets around, pillows on the floor, sideways on the bed. His neurologist prescribed 5 mg melatonin taken after dinner, and he sleeps rather well now with the exception of 2 or 3 trips to the bathroom and goes right back to sleep.
The strength of the prescribed medication a lot of times depends on the size and weight of the patient. DH is over 6 ft tall and weighs a bit over 250 lbs.
Mom went through the wandering phase before we moved (thankfully). I had to lock doors with latches so I could get any sleep; it was not ideal.
At the new house, she hasn't been trying to escape at night (and it's been 6+ months we've been here -- knocking on wood as I type this!!!!) but a few months ago, she was just up ALL NIGHT. OF course she'd sleep while I was at work during the day, even with caregiver trying to keep her active. So … I did resort to meds.
Melatonin and Trazadone every night means an almost uninterrupted sleep for both of us. (She still gets up on her own to use the toilet once or twice a night usually and may or may not need a pant change and I get her back in bed but … it is SO much better than being up all night.