ARTICLES & ANSWERS
Senior Life and Jennifer Meagher RN are featured on the WHEC News 10 website: www.WHEC.com. Jennifer answers
questions from people like you and writes an article as well. She’s been writing for News 10 since 2007.
The most common questions asked of Senior Life are about life planning; options, costs and decisions. These letters and
articles outline some of the considerations. Need more information? Book a consultation for complete information for
WHEN DAYS AND NIGHTS ARE CONFUSED
This month we are discussing dementia, a condition that affects over 5 million Americans. It is believed if everyone were tested the number would be 2-3 times higher.
I don’t know what to do. My mother lives at our house and she has Alzheimer’s. She has her days and nights confused which means she is up all night rummaging around. I can’t sleep soundly because I’m listening to what she’s getting in to. I have a job and I am having increasing difficulty staying focused. I am exhausted. My husband is trying to be patient. My kids are stressing. I don’t want Mom in a nursing home. I don’t know what to do, but I have to do something. I am hoping you can help.
Oh boy. I’m tired just reading your note! Everyone in your family needs a break. I recommend you contact Assisted Living communities and ask into “respite” stays. Your mom can go there temporarily to give you all a rest, and hopefully to get her back on track with days and nights. Consider hiring an overnight helper so you can sleep soundly when she comes back home. I highly recommend that you call the Alzheimer’s Association and attend a support group – you’ll learn what other people in your situation are doing to get by and you’ll feel better. Your spirit will thank you. If finances are an issue call my office and I’ll refer you to non-profit options for help. Hang in there. Don’t promise you’ll do these things; get in front of your computer and get started now.
WHAT TO DO ABOUT SLEEP DISTURBANCES IN PEOPLE WITH DEMENTIA
||Before you do anything, check your own level of patience and energy. If you are feeling distressed this will cross over to the person with dementia and does not help you do your best. Take a moment to slow your breathing. Remind yourself that the person with dementia isn’t responsible for their behavior.
||Avoid the impulse to ask questions or get angry.
||Talk in a soothing voice and assure your loved one that all is well.
|| Assess if s/he is chilled or too warm.
|| Try offering a glass of warm milk.
||Do not try to physically redirect your loved one – s/he is likely to become upset.
|| It is unsafe and considered abusive to use any form of restraint or to lock your loved on in his/her room alone
||.Avoid caffeine, spicy foods, nicotine and alcohol from late afternoon through the next morning.
||Avoid all television that is disturbing as people with dementia may worry they are in danger.
|| Work to turn their clock back around by allowing a nap, but keeping him/her up and moving as much as possible during the day.
|| Consider sensors/ cameras / alarms to maintain your loved one’s safety.