Alzheimer's is an insidious opponent. Last night I made a vow to myself to have a restful night's sleep despite this life as a caregiver. It almost worked. And then at 4 in the morning, I hear this cry and thump. My heart racing I spring out of my bedroom to find my mother sprawled out against her bedroom door. This disease attacks not the just the afflicted, but we the caregivers in so many different ways we can never see what's coming.
She told me she got disoriented coming back from the bathroom and couldn't find her bed. She slammed against the door, pushing the door knob all the way into the wall. A cigarette and a drink immediately followed putting her back into bed. My mom is slowly killing me and doesn't know it. My therapist says "it's a gift to care for you rmother in her final days." I truly believe he doesn't know shit about what it's like to be someone in our situation.
For 6 weeks after I moved in I got no more than 2 hours of sleep each night. Mother got up 5-8 times EVERY night. I tried to catch naps during the day when she would nap, but as soon as I tried... she would get up and start wandering! I could not even mention taking a nap or sleeping... she would get out of bed within moments of the comment. I finally put her on 3 mg. of Melatonin... a natural hormone that helps regulate sleep cycles. For the first time in weeks, I was able to get a decent night's sleep! I still give her the Melatonin (her doctor agrees with this) and even though she doesn't always sleep the night away, I am able to get better sleep than I ever did before! Wearing pull ups ensures that any accidents during the night are easily dealt with.
Often, because of the IMMENSE amount of stress we go through, caregivers expire BEFORE the person they are caring for. PLEASE take care of yourself and find a different therapist... one who actually understands what it is to be a caregiver. Or, just use the forums here to receive the therapy we all need... community really does help.
You are a good son, and you are doing your best!
Have a GREAT day.
The nights of crisis are the worst. I only have one of those every 3-4 months, thank goodness. I know that people caring for someone with advanced dementia go through the crises far more often. I don't know why these things happen in the wee hours so much. I guess it is because people who have enough trouble navigating in the light are stumbling around in the dark. Weak bladders and disturbed sleep cycles certainly do play havoc.
All this seems so unnatural. Sometimes it is like being in one of those dreams where you are trying to get somewhere, but can't. Other times it is like being a guardian of a lost soul. Trouble is that there are no tools or feelings that can help to guide that soul. We just do what we can.
I know what you mean by comments such as the one your therapist made. I think that most do not even know what to say.
In my situation there are four different people telling me how to " handle this '.
Two are from Hospice with opposing views and my own therapist even said to me that I should keep keep my father-in-law at home in his last final days, because just putting someone in the care center is like taking someone out to pasture to die.The hospice nurse said he wants to die at home, although I have told her what I can do and cannot do. And my husband is about useless when it comes to the pysical care of his father.
It is overwhelming and exhausting.