Dad has increased confusion.

Started by

I'm receiving reports of Dad's increasing confusion. He will take a nap in the afternoon and be convinced, upon waking, that it's now morning and time for breakfast. Apparently, the care home nursing staff is struggling with dealing with this. Maybe someone out there has had this experience with a parent or other loved one. I know when my sister was so very sick, she would sleep with the tv on to help her reorient on waking. Suggestions, please!


I'm kind of surprised that the care center can't deal with this. Surely Dad is not the first person who has this kind of confusion.

I think I would offer him a piece of toast and some juice or coffee and say, "Our next meal is coming up pretty soon." Then see if he is oriented better by dinner.
Like jg, I am surprised this is something new to the care center. Time disorientation after an afternoon nap isn't uncommon for people with dementia. At bingo in MIL's nursing home one of the residents complained that hadn't been served breakfast yet. Bingo is at 3pm. Several residents began to be indignant they they hadn't been served breakfast yet either. It was pretty funny. For a while it seemed every other resident that I would chat with in the hallway would complain that they hadn't been fed breakfast yet. I was just asking how they were.

We did buy a wall clock with giant numbers and a big digital bedside clock for my ILs when FIL was still alive. His question then became - is that clock right? When you would say it was correct, he would stare at it trying to work out what time of day it was. I don't know if it helped or not, but he did like seeing the time.

I kept cracker snacks for my FIL in his room as he loved "Nabs" - I had never heard the expression before. When the breakfast question came up, I offered him a nabs. Always made him happy.
Part of what occurs with my dad is that he explodes when they try to help him understand the time of day. I love reading that this is a more common experience than I realized. Even that helps!
So it is new to the staff at your dad's place, or they wouldn't be upsetting him by trying to rationalize with him. You can't rationalize with dementia, it's doesn't work. You try to distract them, not argue or rationalize with them. Arguing and rationalizing just frustrates both parties. My FIL was not easy to distract, but the cracker chewing gave us a little bit of a break. My FIL could really get worked up and would threaten to have the nurses and aides fired.

He once told them he was going to buy the nursing home and run a "swinger's joint" firing all of them in the process.

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

Please enter your Comment

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support