Mom won't turn her light off at night!

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Help! Mom won't turn her light off at night. She seems to sleep okay with it on but she's getting up early and napping a lot during the day and then gets very confused about time of day.

I don't want to set her light to be off at night because she still gets up to go to the bathroom and used to turn on her light to do that. Now she's just leaving it on.

Any ideas?

21 Comments

My mom would leave hers on as well, then I put on a night light for her and a cloth over the big light to add some shade. Elders get "sun downers", and do not like he dark, she could be scared to fall and may want the light on. My mom slept a lot during the day as well, that could be age, medicine, being board as well too. Have you askede her docotr if any of her medicine could be causing and of her napping during the day? How old is she? Are there any activities that you could be doing with her to keep her awake during he day, crossword puzzles, cards, games, movies, shopping, etc. Just a few thoughts.
Blessings,
Bridget
Good ideas! Mom is 94 and takes no medication at all. Very healthy other than the Alzheimer's. I try to keep her busy during the day but the winter weather seems to have thrown a wrench in some of her favorite routines. Too much snow to go to stores or malls every day for long walks. My husband keeps our drive clear but the parking lots at the stores are an issue. Lately she does seem to want to move around the house more when she is awake but she wants to go to bed early and I have to make her stay up. She isn't showing interest in our normal home activities.
You need to provide more light/dark CONTRAST for your Mother around the clock. Sounds like her melatonin levels are off. Expose her to BRIGHT light in the morning, average to fair light during the day; as evening comes, dim the lights, and make sure that you let her sleep in DARK room--give her a nightlight, then turn it off--if you can without her being disturbed. Her mood, sleep habits will improve, cortisol levels will drop(weight), etc. It might take some time, and depending on where you live, you may need to interject healthy artificial light during the day. Remember "contrast" from day to night.
I had a older lady friend who started doing this also. As she explained to me she said when she woke up she was sometimes confused and scared so she wanted a night light. We got a low watt bulb 15 watts this gave her light. Just remember the circle of life when we were babies we ate, slept, and went to the bathroom. As some people get older they have what is called sundowners they seem to have more energy during the evening hours. You might have her blood checked to see if she is okay and then remember what she like to do when she was active. Give her something to do we forget they use to be so busy and now we do it all for them let her help if she is able make her feel useful and that she is needed. Day outings adult day care have activities, knitting, quilting or just helping at your home. Make her feel needed and loved. They give up cause they don't have anything to do. Good luck check out at church for older ladies who are making blankets for new babies or kids in foster homes they all would like their own blanket. If she can still knitt have her start a project to help someone else that way she still feels needed.
It's funny Evalena! She did all those things for years but a few years ago she broke her arm and it was after the dementia had already set in. She forgot how to do any of it and when I've tried to get her interested, she finds she isn't able to do it.

The one thing I can get her to do is play solitaire but if I'm not helping, she gets very frustrated and puts the cards away. I do that with her - letting her play and just helping if she gets lost. I managed to get her to help with some Christmas ornaments by laying it out so she could do them in steps. The first step worked well, the second and third were too difficult and she quit. I was able to bring her back for the fourth and she finished them.

Unfortunately her mind is far enough gone that she just can't remember how to do the things she loved to do. I give her the towels to fold and other things that she still enjoys but if something gets too frustrating she stops on her own.

I tried turning off her lamp after she went to sleep last night but she turned it back on when she went to the bathroom. This morning I put a nightlight in her room and took away her bedside lamp - after explaining to her that I was doing it and why and added that the doctor said it wasn't good for her to sleep with the light on because she was confusing her days and nights. We have a remote on her other lamp so that we can turn it off and she won't be able to turn it on. I'll also put a low watt bulb in it so that it won't be too bright even if she manages to get it on.

Our house is never completely dark because quite frankly, I have had panic attacks in the dark. I have nightlights everywhere so there is no fear of her not being able to see if she gets up in the night, she just won't be able to turn on a bright light. I'll let you know how tonight goes!
Jolly: You are on to some very good ideas and thoughts about how to help her with Day and Night.

There are 'daylight' bulbs that you can use during the day to provide more 'natural daylight'. And even sitting in a sunny window will help keep her more alert. I didn't mind Mom napping during the day for short periods, since it seemed to keep her 'happier'. Happy was good.

Keeping a schedule helps too. My mother was a VERY early riser until we got blackout curtains for her window. After we put those in her room, she seemed to sleep longer in the morning. She also had a 'nightlight' on, very low (15watt) so she would be able to go to the bathroom at night. Nightlights in the bathroom helped too, and seemed to be enough instead of her turning on a bright light.

TIMERs can help too, but even though it is good to sleep in complete darkness, sometimes dementia/Alzheimer's will cause confusion if they cannot see where they are. I was worried that she would not be able to see where she was going, so very low light nightlights 'lit' the way to the bathroom.

There are many things you can try to keep her on a schedule, but do prepare yourself for disruption in her schedule. Many times their schedule will shift (from day to night). This will require night time help so she doesn't wander, etc.

God bless... and Happy Holidays!
KEEPING A ROUTINE IS GOOD IF SHE IS ON A SCHEDULE. UP AT SAME TIME, DRESSING & BRUSH TEETH, MEALS, BEDTIME. MAKE CHARTS TO REMIND HER . YOU CAN GET WHITE BOARD WITH COLOR MARKERS. REMINDERS LIKE APPOINTMENTS AND HAVE DATE. EACH DAY GO OVER WHAT IS HAPPENING THAT DAY USING DIFFERENT COLOR FOR REMINDERS. IF SHE USE TO LIKE TO READ YOU CAN GET BOOKS ON TAPE AT LOCAL LIBARARY. SHE CAN LISTEN TO STORIES OR EVEN THE BIBLE. FIND PROGRAMS THAT ARE FOR HER LIKE THE GOLDEN GIRLS OR 70'S SHOWS SHE USE TO WATCH. MUSIC THE CABLE CHANNEL EVEN HAS OLDIES / JUST MUSIC NO WORDS IF THE WEATHER IS GOOD GO FOR A DRIVE, JUST GET ICE CREAM OR DRINK TALK TO HER ASK HER WHAT SHE WOULD LIKE TO DO EVEN IF CONFUSED THEY HEAR YOU DON'T TALK AT HER TALK WITH HER.
OH YEA WE TOOK PHOTOS AND PUT NAMES UNDER EACH PERSON TO SAY WHO THEY ARE AND WHERE THEY WERE THEN WE TALKED ABOUT IT COPIES OF PHOTOS AT COPY STORE ARE CHEAP AND I MADE A BOOK WITH EVERYONE THEN WROTE NAMES UNDER PICTURES AND WHO THEY ARE AND WHERE THEY ARE OR WHAT THEY WERE DOING. VACATIONS, HOLIDAYS, WHATEVER IT IS "MOM'S BOOK" SHE CAN LOOK THRU AND IT MAY REMIND HER. LIKE A STORY BOOK OF HER LIFE WITH ALL OF YOU IN IT. A REMINDER AND HELPS MEMORY. I STARTED WITH HER AND DAD AND THEN ADDED KIDS, BABY TO MARRIGES AND THEN HER GRAND KIDS AND GREAT GRANDKIDS. TOP PAGE PHOTOS AND STORIES UNDER LITTLE REMINDERS BUT IT IS ALSO HER LIFE STORY IT WAS FUN TO ORGANIZE AND I CHANGED IT AND ADDED TO IT AS I WAS MAKING IT WITH HER. KEEP IN TOUCH HAPPY HOLIDAYS HANG IN THERE YOUR DOING GREAT.
Thanks so much everyone! I've been doing some of what has been mentioned (jigsaw puzzles, solitaire, folding towels, shopping, family pictures) but there's always a "little more" that I find in the suggestions.

Mom is definitely on a schedule. I maintained the one she had been on for years so that there was no transitioning and it does help immensely. This light on at night started in the last month and over time has thrown off her timing.

Yesterday when I talked to her about taking the lamp she was okay but when she found it gone, it wasn't okay. My wonderful husband then went to Lowe's and bought a regular size 7 1/2 watt light bulb to fit in her bedside lamp. I put the lamp back in her room and told her she could keep it on all night and she was happy with that.

We wore her out yesterday - although I let her snooze here and there as usual, I made her walk at the grocery store and we were at my husband's family Christmas yesterday late afternoon into evening and didn't take her home until after 9:00. She went to bed at 10:00 and told me this morning that she slept well. I know that she got up to use the bathroom just before it was time to get up but she went back to bed after - I think because she didn't have the bright light shining in her room.

The next few days will be the real test. We have Christmas with my family (Mom's) today and a stop at my husband's brother's this afternoon late. Tonight she may be exhausted again but Monday and Tuesday morning will really tell the tale!
I always had a nightlight for mom so she didn't fall down and break her crown.

You are a good daughter.

lovbob
Aww! Thanks Bobbie! I'm trying!

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