My mom insists the bed is burning and wants me to unplug it. How can I get her to stay in her bed at night?

Asked by

This has been going on for about a month I'm really tired of it.At night she goes to a spare bedroom but that one burns her too.Then she goes downstairs to sleep on her recliner.In the morning she asks me if I'm happy with what I'm doing to her.She just came in while I'm writing this and asked for something to rub on her leg.She said my husband is doing this to her.Him or me?Whatever
Last week I got tired of hearing it and gave her lotion to put on her "burns".Now I live with the lotion monster.I don't know how to stop this lotion business-but she is going to ruin all the furniture at this rate.
I'm tired,I guess I sleep but listen for her during the night.
I am going to call the doctor monday morning.There has to be something they can give her.
I have all the patience in the world for forgetfulness but This hatefulness is more than I can take

Answers 1 to 10 of 10
I have a type of neuropathy that causes the bottom of my feet (especially right foot) to burn really bad. I have been tested, and it's looking like it's hereditary and not caused by the usual suspects, diabetes, thyroid, vit. B deficiency. Maybe when she lays down her legs actually do burn. Has a doctor ever tested her for neuropathy? I just recently started taking Neurontin, and my feet have stopped burning at night for the first time in 10 years.
First of all, FORGET ABOUT THE FURNITURE if you are going to be a caretaker. Mom burns our furniture with cigarette butts, spits and wherever it hits, oh well, I could go on but you get the idea. I just go to the second hand furniture store and buy some more.
I feel for you, you are dealing with a hateful elder, like I am, and it doesn't get any better. Just remember to take some time away to enjoy yourself, AND DON'T FEEL GUILTY when you do!~
good idea to call the doctor. It really is hard taking care of a loved one. I care for my mother...last week I was fired. Hired. and then fired...since then I've been re-hired. I am her only child and so she knows what buttons to push, and I also have to remember that it is her illness, and how she feels about it, etc.not me. Try and take a deep breath and find a way to relax and unwind. Maybe her meds are the reason she feels the way she's been feeling...hope you find relief soon.
Top Answer
INSANE: I think NAheaton has a good idea to check to see if there is a real medical reason for her discomfort. Have her doctor check for a UTI too! If she is experiencing any urinary discomfort she may be feeling a burning sensation when she tries to rest. This is easy to check for and one of THE most common problems with elders with Alzheimer's.

I would also suggest that before you just have her put on medication to 'keep her calm' or make her sleep, be aware that this can also create NEW problems some of which can have much worse consequences.

I found that being really creative has solved more problems and made it easier to live with my mother who also had Alzheimers' Night time can be very difficult for those with Alzheimer's or any dementia. Learning some new techniques and 'night time habits' may help her sleep better at night. If she is napping most of the day, make sure she has things to do (or go to a senior center so she is comfortably tired at night).

Limit coffee or any stimulants to early evening. Taking a warm shower before bedtime may also help as well as a soft radio station to give her something else to concentrate on.

If her medical test show nothing physically wrong, then you will have to try some other tactics to help her relax.

FIRST: agree with her. Let her know that you understand what she is saying,and then calmly assure her that you will take care of the problem. Then go to her room. and 'pretend' to fix the problem, even if it means walking OUT of her room with a FAKE cord that was 'accidentally' plugged into the wall! It might just work.

SECOND: ask her when she first noticed the problem, and what she thinks the solution is. With Alzheimer's please understand that she needs your help figuring out how to solve a problem and perhaps she isn't using the right words anymore. May her legs aren't BURNING, but maybe they are hurting (restless leg syndrome) Here is one of my experiences: my mother was complaining about 'her legs itching' and come to find out that since she was snacking while sitting in her 'recliner' there were SUGAR ANTs in her pants (LOL). Seriously... I thought it was a manifestation in her mind and it really wasn't!! We got rid of the crumbs and the ants went away, and so did the itching!!

THIRD: if the problem persists, she could be needing extra attention and assistance. With Alzheimer's they tend to rely more and more on their caregiver, all the while complaining about what 'WE' are doing to them. Its hard for them to admit that there is anything wrong with them. Proud as they are.

I could go on, but if you are NOT new to the Alzheimer's experience it will seem like I am lecturing, when in fact I am just trying to offer my experiences so you can shorten your learning curve.

I am sure that others will offer their sage advise too, and we can discuss this further.
Reason is not going to work in this situation. I believe you already have the right idea by rubbing cream on a mythical sore spot. Maybe you could put an extension cord under the bed, then pull it out just to show her it's unplugged. I no longer try to argue with illogical demands . . . that approach doesn't work. You have to do whatever helps no matter how absurd it may seem. If it helps and is safe, it's not stupid.
Information on AgingCare regarding this behavior can be accessed at:

A medical evaluation seems in order for your mother.
Peripheral neuropathy and/or her current medications
would seem to be the first items for her doctor to consider.
Be careful about asking the doctor to "Give her something"!
Elderly people are often very sensitive to such drugs, which can exacerbate everything from constipation to paranoia. They could well backfire on you. Also, buy a cream that absorbs quickly into the skin so there won't be greasy stains to contend with. Creams absorb better than ointments.
Unplug the something to make her believe you unplugged the bed...don't confuse her any more than she already is....and of course take her to the doctor to see if it's dementia or is actually something physical.
hi... I agree with the above I think you should take her to the doctor and explain her symptoms. I too suffer with burning on the sides of my lower legs making it very uncomfortable to sleep and cool sheets feel lovely.

When she asks you to unplug the heat, I think I would have something plugged something in (a radio under the bed or something) and LET HER unplug it. That way she will be sure it was unplugged. takeCare. karen
Having HER unplug 'something' is good too... just make sure it isn't something that she will continue to do and unplug lights, etc that may be necessary for her well being! GOOD point Puzzles!!
Does your mom really have some sort of heating device in the bed that could really be too hot? if so can u turn it down? I am asking because my mom uses heating pads all the time, and swears they do help with the pain, now she doesnt need them as they have her on heavy duty pain meds, that are really helping her and not making her nuts like I have seen some do in the past! I guess I would need a bit more info, I havent been on here very often, as my husbands grandkids mom dissapeared and dumped the kids on us, like we really needed this NOW! mom fell again in the nursing home again and had to get 18 stiches in her head...........we have our hands full!

Share your answer

Please enter your Answer

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