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Alzheimer’s Behavior: Patient’s or Caregiver’s Problem?

PROBLEM: Sleep Problems

Mom wakes up frequently at night, and as a result we’re both tired and cranky all day.

As we age—whether we’re suffering from Alzheimer’s or not—the quality of our sleep tends to change. Individuals can wake up frequently due to the need to go to the bathroom, pain, anxiety, restless leg syndrome, or even a confusing environment. And when you’re a caregiver, your loved one’s sleep problems become your sleep problems. Obviously, consistent sleep deprivation won’t help either of you to function or cope well.

SOLUTION: First, make sure that your loved one is physically comfortable in terms of her clothing, temperature, lighting, mattress, pillows, etc. Helping her to be mentally comfortable so that she can rest well might be a bit trickier. Try to minimize stress around the clock, stick to a routine, and provide reassurance rather than giving orders. For instance, you might tell your mom that you know everyone in the house is safe at night because she’s so careful about checking the doors instead of suggesting she go to bed because she’s already checked the locks twelve times. If your initial efforts don’t work well enough, consider hiring a nighttime aide to give yourself a break.

“Ultimately, while you can’t change the progression of the disease from which your loved one is suffering—or even greatly influence his or her behaviors—you can take steps to minimize the stress both of you feel as a result of behavior changes,” says Ms. Rubinstein.

“Also, keep in mind that while many of the behaviors that result from memory loss can be difficult to deal with, it doesn’t mean all the joy is gone from your life and that of the patient,” she adds. “Caring for my mother wasn’t always easy or enjoyable, but I can assure you that we did share plenty of smiles, laughs, and yes, love. You, too, can have a positive impact on the patient’s quality of life—and you can definitely still enjoy special moments with your loved one.”

Read more:
Who Is Worse Off: People with Alzheimer’s or Their Caregivers
Giving Up Control When You Have Alzheimer’s Isn’t Easy
Broken Record: What to Say When Dementia Causes Them to Repeat

Is Alzheimer’s Behavior the Patient’s Problem…or the Caregiver’s? originally appeared on Visit for more information on Alzheimer’s and Dementia.


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12:05AM PDT on Jul 11, 2015

Nice to read this article will be very helpful in the future, share more info with us. Good job! outpatient treatment center delray beach

7:48AM PST on Nov 24, 2011

What a silly question. Obviously, everybody is hurt by Alzheimer's. Do you think people enjoy being paranoid or forgetting things?

Care2, please broaden your text block so articles can be read on no more than 2 pages. You have reached the tipping point- people are so tired of forced exposure to multiple pages of ads that they are just not going to bother reading the 2nd page.

8:34PM PST on Nov 23, 2011

So what *do* you say when you or someone else working with your mother is accused of stealing, or harming her, etc.? I was really hoping this article would offer some help on that one but it didn't.

1:46PM PST on Nov 23, 2011

such a sad illness:(

12:49PM PST on Nov 23, 2011

I cared for a number of people who are in the beginning stages of Alzheimers ...its sad to see it happening. Your article is very insightful...thanks for posting.

8:32AM PST on Nov 23, 2011

Comments were a great addition to a good post. Thank you all.

6:08AM PST on Nov 23, 2011

Alzhimer's is actually a form of dementia.I work in the health care field,and this has included working with people affected by this.What is happening is they are losing portions of their brain.It's gone,that is why they don't remember.The behaviors are understandable-How would you feel if you found yourself somewhere with who you thought were strangers,and they were telling you to do things that seemed illogical to you?It is important to educate yourself as to how to understand and care for them.It is not easy.

5:35AM PST on Nov 23, 2011

Thanks for sharing!

4:53AM PST on Nov 23, 2011

New Report Says over 10 Million Americans Will soon Develop Alzheimer’s disease

Every 22 seconds in the world and every 71 seconds in this country, someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and a startling new report out today from the Alzheimer’s Association predicts that one out of every eight baby boomers — or over 10 million Americans — is expected to develop the disease sometime in the near future.

4:51AM PST on Nov 23, 2011

Don’t be on your ownsome

Try to make as many new friends as possible now. It gets harder as you get older.
Stay in touch or get back in touch with relatives.
If you have a choice, choose to live close to friends and family.
Stay physically active, especially in group exercise programmes.
Participate in community and club events.
Volunteer your services at schools, libraries, and churches.
Learn or develop computer skills to stay in touch with others your age.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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