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My mom has sundowners. She is up all night searching for food!


Yikes it is hard on me!

I was told by her doctors/nurses to sit snacks out so she could graze throughout the day. They said let her eat all she wants because the day is coming soon when she will stop eating much of anything and It will be good to have the weight on her when she starts losing it.
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Reply to Cateyes
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Food may not necessarily be the reason that she is up all night, it may just be something to do because she is awake. My Mom in law used to be up at all hours of the night all the time. If you address her sleep patterns, and find what works for her to get her to sleep at night, then also keep to a strict routine with meals, this should help. Low magnesium levels can negatively impact sleep quality, and it's said that a bit of Epsom Salts daily can help with this - Magnesium is necessary for the body to bind adequate amounts of serotonin, the mood-elevating chemical within the brain that creates a feeling of well being and relaxation. Speak to her health care provider to see if she can have it. Luckily my Mom in law now sleeps too much, but then again she is 93!
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Reply to Sharon999
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Lock up the food.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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People Who suffer from Alzheimer's can easily forget they have eaten hence they crave food continuously. I suggest instead of locking cupboards and the refridgeratior to leave lots of fruit and snacks about so Your Mom can help Herself. To counteract sundowners I used to leave a low watt bulb on
at night which helped a lot. This continuous eating will stop after a while as in the later stages Your Mom will not be able
to eat. Do not worry Infinity as this behaviour is normal for Alzheimer's Sufferers.
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Reply to Johnjoe
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Refrigerator and cabinet locks. It is not illegal as long as during the day you are feeding her and taking care of her. Also if she has sundowners, you need to remove and either lock up or get rid of lighters, matches, knives, scissors, guns and anything she can use to get hurt with or hurt someone with. Also on the doors to the outside use childproof door protectors. Then buy a bed alarm. Best advice is to have a doctor prescribe a low dose medication like I did with my mom. It does help and does not just knock them out, but helps with the anxiety and restlessness involved and the sundowners is helped some also.
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Reply to theexecutioner
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Garnett Dec 12, 2018
My husband of 53 years has Alzheimer,s. He is suffering with sundowners.
Or maybe I should say we are both suffering from his sundowners. His doctor prescribed a low dose of ResperiDone. It has not helped. I think he gets more agitated with this med. Anyway, I was wondering what medication your mom is taking? My husband also is very restless and has anxiety. I am really suffering from exhaustion and burnout. Some of our family has said that I need to put him in a facility for memory care. I don't want to do that. He has shown signs of aggression and has hit me on my arm and back. Does anyone have any suggestions?
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Sundowners usually happens, I would have 1:1 caregive some time to get some rest
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Reply to Kadra1234
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Maybe she is missing the right vitamins. Lack of magnesium makes me crave chocolate all day. Talk to a nutritionist and her doctor.
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Reply to dejavu292
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Processed carbs (sugars and starches) are so addicting, especially with the additives put in them, like MSG. Perhaps replacing processed foods with healthier options will help. You mom might balk at eating raw carrots, but she might accept cooked carrots. If she can chew, maybe she would be willing to eat whole-grain crackers (Triskets, Rye Crisp, etc.) instead of saltines. And natural (no-sugar added) peanut butter, instead of the sugared version. If you can get green vegetables in her, that too might help. Perhaps you could stock up on frozen broccoli and cauliflower and cook a few portions at a time then refrigerate them in small food tubs. It might help to have cottage cheese and boiled eggs on hand, as well.
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Reply to Lilacalani
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We have meals set up for each day. That's all gets, with healthy snacks (he weighs 304, down from 350lbs).
The only way we could do it was plastic STOP signs posted on rooms he wasn't allowed in, and making him understand that (kitchen always off limits).
Now since we LET him stay up all night if he wants, we just remove his wheelchair every night. Now he keeps himself busy in bed doing activities we set up for him.

In your case, I would put kitchen on the no-go-zone, and make sure he has some healthy snacks at bedside.
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Reply to Birdman
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She has this sad and difficult disease and should be somewhere someone is Licensed and more apt to Care for Mom.
It gets worse here, where you may have even a problem with her trying to go out of the house. And her moods....YIKES!!!!
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Reply to Parise
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I understand; my mother is eating like a teenage football player: and she’s diabetic. To control her eating, I started making large healthy snacks and keeping small amounts of her go to snacks. I’d store her favorites in an unused cooler ( I didn’t use a fridge and we keep a lot of dry goods around to discourage her cooking). She complained at first ( her go to snacks was peanut butter so I only stocked a small jar (after emptying half out :-) - she could eat an entire jar in two days....but she soon settled into a routine we set for her. It’s more work for me so if you plan to do this, try to use something she wouldn’t look into ( our old camping cooler inside a closet took care of that, and wrapping cold items in several white plastic bags and storing raw items in the freezer prevented the search for food to cook. We used old grocery plastic bags so it became two much work to unwrap the two plastic bags we hid food in and it was too much work for her to unknot them.) yes, she did tear a few open but that’s the point of using several, takes strength to tear one but they rarely have enough strength to go through a few of them. Scissors and anything that could help get hidden asay. This was a recent change in our house but we find homemade goods she could snack on helpful- sometimes she just wants to know food is there. Hopefully that’s something your mom may be struggling with- is there food in the house is a question that can stress them out.
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Reply to StaceyLM40
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You might check with her doctor -- is increased appetite a side-effect of any of her medications?
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Reply to maggiebea
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Understand. However, your mother is undergoing one of the most frightening experiences one could ever face. Health and appearance considerations associated with being overweight at this point in her life are trivial. Just a little bit of light in her dark world, provided by satisfying a need to eat something, has got to be wonderful!
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Reply to TOMTAge
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You are lucky she is eating. Obviously this is not the later stages when they start forgetting how to eat. Something else to look forward to.
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Reply to cetude
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Get a refrigerator door lock. There are locks for every type of refrigerator. Some locks work from the side and others from above. This is a safety issue as eating raw meat, for example, is dangerous. Consolidate all the food into as few cupboards as possible and lock those too. Again, it's a safety issue because eating raw flour is dangerous because it can harbor bacteria. You may need to childproof the entire kitchen at some point. The high doorknob is an excellent idea!

Because you know she wanders and eats, have low glycemic fruits such as cut-up melon on the counter.
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Reply to NYDaughterInLaw
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I understand although mom hasn't started sundown eating. She eats/try's to eat something every time she crosses the kitchen. Unfortunately the kitchen is between all the rooms & the restroom. Every trip requires looking around on the way to restroom & grabbing what she saw on the way back. Opening fridge too usually. Extra hard since she's diabetic & has CHF so liquids are monitored & measured. Caregivers have started slicing cucumbers, celery & carrots in small portions in seperate plates so she can grab a handful & feel successful in sneaking a snack. I'm happy atleast they are vegetables instead of bread, yogurt or fruits. She eats out of boredom but won't do word searches, puzzles, any housekeeping, just watches tv & reads the paper. The only thing that eases her boredom is going out & caregivers aren't really able to do that. I can but I'm not physically well either. Trips involve wheelchair loading & unloading, pushing, restroom visits, she wears depends but will need atleast to change that each trip, restaurant menus & lots of extra fluids available. I'd rather not & usually it's not something I enjoy even for myself. I did install a high doorknob that locks on kitchen door so she can't sneak by at night but I haven't needed it yet.
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Reply to Momshelp
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Have you tried using the baby/elder proofing items to secure the refrigerator and cupboards?
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Reply to JuliaRose
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They are so heavy and difficult to help. It is very sad to watch. Imagine my horror when I opened the fridge one morning to find 3 raw sausages missing! Poor mom had a sundowners snack! No more raw meat left in there!
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Reply to Infinity
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JuliaRose Dec 8, 2018
Oh no! I hope she doesn’t get sick!!
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Hello, I dont post very often but I do know what you are going through as I have the same problem with my husband. He weighs 260 and wants to eat all night. I have to hide any sweets, fruits, bread,and etc but even that does not help. If I were to leave these things out, he would eat all of it in one night and has done it. He even gets cake mixes out of the pantry and eats them with a spoon. He has done the same with the ready made icing. The other day he was trying to eat a head of lettuce. He gets things out of the freezer and tries to eat them. I know what you're going through but I have no answers. If he were in a nursing home, he would not have access to these things but nursing homes are too expensive and I've already been through the Medicaid thing with my mom who also had Alzheimers. After she died they wanted my moms house and I know that as long as I'm living that I would have a home but I really dont want to involve Medicaid if I can help it. Alzheimers is just a very terrible and sad
disease for us all.
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Reply to Sharonheart1942
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Riverdale Dec 7, 2018
My mother is overweight and also thinks she needs snacks at night because dinner is so early in AL. If she insists I buy low calorie ones but I tire of that since she does not need to consume more. If I were you I would have less of those things in the house. I will get her unsweetened applesauce. I feel as though my mother is the only overweight 88 year old around. It certainly doesn't help with all her other health issues I concern myself with and appointments I take her to. It is sad because I find it hard to really look at her.
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