Help! I am a caregiver and I can't stay awake!

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As we all know, being a caregiver is the most stressful job there is. I am on AgingCare lots asking questions because right now my life is a big question! During the past 5 months, my Mom, 94 with dementia, slept all the time, in her chair all day, went to bed with the chickens 5-6 o'clock and didn't get up until 1011 o'clock. During the last part of July and the month of August, she will NOT go to sleep. I actually think she just goes to bed to lay down to rest, NOT sleep!
I am exhausted and the minute I set down, I am out like a light. This happens to me 3-4 times a day, and maybe more. This is NOT good, because I need to be awake for her. Her eyes never leave me! She stares a hole through me from the time she gets up, until she goes to bed. Most of the time I have to leave the room or go outside, so therefore there is not a lot I get done in the kitchen, den, laundry room until she goes to bed, and then I am too tired! I hate my kitchen, she watches every move I make and it is like I am invading her territory. She glares at me when I load the dishwasher. I usually keep a few odds and ends in the sink so she thinks she is doing something big washing dishes, but her nose
runs practically non stop and drips and she doesn't know it, so I'm not a real big
fan of her doing major dishes! Plus, she is on Pradaxa for blood clots in the lungs and she is always finding kitchen knives to wash and just one experience of her cutting her hand was all I needed with that. Can anyone tell me what is
going on??? It is like she has gotten a new "burst" of life and makes me look like the person who has the problems. I am so tired and stressed and confused and even her doctor is confused, because she has been at death's door so many times and overcome it. The dementia continues to worsen, but this "new lease on life" has really got me puzzled. I am so stressed, I am afraid I am a heart attack waiting to happen. Could you nice people please give me some advice or tell me what is going on? Or, have you experienced this yourselves?
I will anxiously be waiting your reply and help and thanks so much in advance!!


You could do a google search and see what the side effects of Pradaxa are? Medications can affect people differently, and some can cause major side effects, especially in the elderly. One medication that my mother was on caused her to wake up in the night screaming. Her doctor wouldn't discontinue it, but when he cut the dosage significiently, my mother stopped the night screaming. Have you had her vitamin B-12 levels checked? In addition, I think you should plan something for yourself, even something as simple as a hot bath at the end of the day, or watching a favorite tv show.
Or check for UTI. They give my mom too much energy and kinda wacky.
Thank you both for your comments. They are both something to look into. I went online to read the side effects of Pradaxa and I do believe it is more "unsafe" than it
is safe, especially at 93 years old. The Pradaxa does cause insomnia, keeps you from sleeping or resting and I'm thinking back and it was about the same time as her last hospital stay and they put her on Pradaxa for blood clots in her lungs that her sleeplessness started and the UTI is another thing I need to look into. She is wearing me out! Thanks again and anything else you all can think of, please let me know!
People with dementia often have trouble with their sleep cycle. It is possible that the part of the brain responsible for the cycling has been compromised in some way. Some people use melatonin at night and finds it works well. You may want to try it to see if it helps your mother fall asleep.

One shortcoming of melatonin that I have found is it does help me fall asleep, but it doesn't help to keep me asleep. You may find that it the case for your mother, too. But even if she doesn't stay asleep for long, it will give you some rest time.

One thing about Alz is that things will change. Somewhere down the line, your mother may be sleeping most of the day and night. That doesn't help right now, though. The melatonin might be good, and if it doesn't work, let your mother's doctor know she isn't sleeping. He may prescribe something temporarily, with an eye to giving you a break so you can sleep. The only alternative I can see is hiring a part-time caregiver to watch while you sleep. I hope that this phase of the Alz passes soon, because I know it is difficult for you.
Thanks for your kind comments. It really helps to get advice because it makes things a little clearer when it comes to dealing with it. If I fall asleep in the recliner, which I have to be careful because I do every time, my Mom will come over and shake my foot and say, "are you asleep?" or "do you not feel good?" So here are me and my husband "zonked" out in our chairs and she is sitting in her rocking chair watching us sleep!! The only way I can avoid going to sleep when she is up is not setting down at all, or I am out like a lightbulb. Stress is one of the worst things I have ever experienced! Thanks again, it is appreciated!
We had another new experience last night. It happened about 4 nights ago and we just thought because she went to bed early is the reason. Well, last night at 11:30 her bedroom door cracks open and my husband said, "I think your Mom is up for the day". No light ever came on in her bedroom, so I'm guessing she made her bed and dressed in the dark! We were getting ready to turn the TV off and head for bed ourselves. So I thought better check on her before I retired. She is fully dressed, bed made and she is combing her hair. I said "Mom what are you
doing" and she said "Getting Up"! So I told her it was midnight and put her back to bed! Then I go in at 5:45 this morning to get the garbage can and change the
kitty litter in the bathroom (Mom is totally deaf without her hearing aids) I hear her
say "Norma Jean, I pulled the clock out of the wall cause it was blinking" (the
power had flickered). So there is definitely a sleeping problem, or is it the dementia kicking in, big time?? Any help, ideas or comments will again be appreciated! Thanks!
Hi, been caring for mom since 1989. She used to lay down during the day, which was why I figured she didn't sleep at night. Well the last few months she never sleeps. She wants to go to bed by 9/10 at night. By 11 PM she has her light on, and is up for the rest of the night. How can one survive with one hours sleep. Doctor said sleeping pills, but she falls alot, so I cannot take that chance. I too am so tired, wake up early to make her breakfast and I am so tired and cranky. I go in her room at any given time during the night....she is combing her hair, putting makeup on, in her closet, in her bureau. Some nights I just shut her door back over and some nights I just start yelling then I feel guilty for yelling. Just so tired, I do sympathize with you. Hugs
Hello,my mom also has dementia.Her sleep patterns are,she goes to bed at 9:00pm,she gets up at 6:00am to go to an adult day care center.She gets home about 4:30.During the night she'll wake up around 2am asking me is it time to get up?And at 4am she dozes off again.Does your mom get any exercise during the day,this usually helps.My mom is mostly immobile because of severe rheumatoid arthritis in her knees and back but she's still a handful.
Definatly check the uti and the prescription but also make a plan to get some extra help even just for a few hours a night so you can sleep. It may be related to the things mentioned, but it may not. It may stay the same or get worse. Plan for it to get worse and hope and pray it gets better. Good luck.

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