I have read several of the posts on here about dementia and sleep disorders. My mom is 80 years old. She had a brain hemorrhage last year. The hemorrhage is near the gland that produces melatonin in the body. I am no doctor, but I believe this is part of the reason for my mother not sleeping. She is under hospice care right now because of her agitation and not sleeping. We have tried all different combinations of medication; Seroquel, Clonapen, Clonazepam, Ativan, Xanax, and even Phenobarbital. None of those have worked consistently. Mom gets very agitated during the day and gets out of her chair constantly. She is VERY unsteady on her feet. She has a hospital bed with side rails, but she climbs over or around the rails. She has to be supervised 24/7 because she is such a fall risk. She cries all the time and doesn’t understand that she cannot get up and around like she did in the past. Our mother was very independent and drove her own car until the day before her brain hemorrhage. We are heartbroken over this and feel terrible because she doesn’t understand.
My sister is my mom’s sole caregiver. My brother and I give her breaks on weekends. My sister is completely exhausted. We cannot afford to pay someone to sit with mom. She does not qualify for Medicaid because she has a small pension, Social Security and owns her home. We do not know what we can or should do. I will ask her hospice nurse if we can try some of the natural remedies to see if that helps. I have written down Knock Out, Calm Forte, and Alteril from the previous posts I have read. It is a shame that more and more elderly people are in the same situation as our mother. Something needs to be done to get help for our elderly. Any information about programs we should look into or about different things to help our mother sleep would be greatly appreciated.

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Hello! Thanks for the responses. jeannegibbs - I do week day evening respite for my sister. I also cook dinner one night a week and have my sister and mother over just for a change of scenery for my sister. What suggestions do you have for us when it comes to my mother trying to get up and walk? We are constantly by her side but she has fallen twice while my sister is in the bathroom and once when I was in the bathroom. We tell her not to get up because we are going to the bathroom. She thinks she is able to walk anywhere. We have tried buckling her in the wheel chair and she has figured out how to undo the buckle. She has no idea and doesn't remember that she can't even stand by herself because she is so wobbly. We had mom at assisted living from July until January. She fell December 21 and needed more care than the assisted living was able to give so we brought her home. I do not know of a hospice house. The hospice will provide 5 days of respite care (in a nursing home) but my sister is not willing to let mom go to a nursing home.

BarbBrooklyn - What is a pooled income trust? Who could we talk to about this other than an attorney? We have called several attorneys in our area to see what they would charge and they want over $1000.00. We don't want to spend $1000.00 on that since we are struggling to get care for her.
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MSB, I hope you come back to read these posts. I find it hard to believe that your mom won't qualify for Medicaid; if she has limited assets, a pension and a house, a pooled income trust can be set up to get her under the income limit for Medicaid.
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Google Lemon Balm (also known as Melissa). This is a safe herb used in Europe to treat agitation in dementia and is a mild sedative. My mother has vascular dementia and Lemon Balm works to help her sleep.

Also, has her doctor recently checked her blood sugar? High blood sugar can cause agitation. Generally hospice won't order labs. The easiest way to check if your mother has high blood sugar is give her guava tea; this is used to lower blood sugar in diabetics. Google this. I buy the tea off of Amazon.

Of course, UTI should always be in the periphery...
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My heart goes out to you. This must be absolutely devastating for your entire family. If nature takes its course, all of us lose our parents. But to have to watch while they lose their identity and are in physical or emotional pain is beyond what should be expected of us.

I am glad you are giving Sis some weekend respite. Is there any way you could also provide an evening now and then?

Does this hospice program have a Hospice House? If so, it might be best to move Mom at this point. You can all spend as much time with her there as you want.

You say Mom doesn't qualify for Medicaid. Did a professional (such as an attorney specializing in Elder Law) help you come to that conclusion, or are you basing it on things you've heard? Owning a home is no obstacle to getting Medicaid, although there will be a lien on the house to help pay back the state when she dies. Can you think of a better use of the equity in her home than getting care for her now? Allowed income levels vary by state, but if hers is slightly over the limit there are perfectly legal ways to overcome that obstacle.

Dedicated as you all are (and that is commendable!) all of you combined cannot provide the level of care your mother needs now. If her income is not adequate to hire that care, look closely at Medicaid.

Meanwhile, get as much help as her income will allow. Even if it two mornings a week, it will help Sis retain her sanity. Hospice will be able to give you information about extra help.

Hugs to you, and your sister, and your brother. I hope none of you have to do anything this difficult again!
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