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My 95 year old Mom constantly crys and moans while sleeping. This started about a month ago. She also somehow watches the clock,and I will hear her saying 1:15, 1:16 etc. Then at other times she will moan and thrash about with her legs and arms waving about. She will cry "God help me, please help me" over and over. When I ask her what is wrong she will look at me, and babble incoherently. She looks totally out of it. Then she will eventually snap out of it, and usually needs to go to the bathroom. Is this common with dementia? She takes no sleeping aids or drugs that should affect her sleep.

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I don't know that crying and moaning in sleep is unusual with dementia - everyone is so different. I do know that this has to be terribly upsetting for you. I'd talk with the doctor about it and make certain that she doesn't have any pain that could be eliminated such as something from a UTI, arthritis or other issues that may go under the radar.

Please keep us updated,
Carol
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In answer to your question, yes, it is the dementia. Before quitting my job to stay home and take care of my own mother with dementia I worked in nursing homes for many years. It was very common to see the elderly with dementia crying or moaning there. It is very much like having a child that knows that something is wrong but can't express to you what it is or what they are feeling. My own mother doesn't usually cry or moan, but she has started to make these whimpering sounds. Yes, you are right! It is a very heartbreaking process! My mother doesn't even remember who I am anymore. She often wants to go home and thinks her home is with her mom and dad, probably because that is the time in her life that she remembers feeling safe. Sometimes when I tell her that they have been long gone she starts to cry as if grieving all over again! I guess the best we can to is to offer some sort of comfort and reassurance that everything is okay and just be at peace knowing that we are there for our loved ones while they are still alive.
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I don't know if this will help but worth a try. I don't have dementia but I do cry, moan in my sleep and appear to be waking and "out of it" with no memory of it in the morning. I in fact only know of this thanks to my late partner telling me. What we found helped was for me to have a small dim light on all night. Also to have pillows (cushions in the USA?) on one side of me. If they are in danger of falling out but a swim noodle under the sheet & it will hold the pillows. This didn't completely stop the problem but it did lesson it. Since being widowed I've added a very soft throw which is often beside me as too hot as a cover. If I'm half awake & distressed I can reach out for the throw and the warmth & softness comforts and I sleep again. After my beloved died I gave up my light & pillows for a while because I felt that an adult shouldn't need them. I now know that I wake much more refreshed with these aids. Also I find it helpful to have a clock with a gentle tick in the background.
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My mom had Lewy body and Parkinsons, went thru a period where she was hallucinating. She didn't cry and moan. My sister and I took turns sleeping with mom so dad could get some rest. She would constantly ask to get up, go downstairs. After sometime of not being able to console her we came to discover that she was seeing people (cleaners she would call them) in the room at night. When it came to the point that she slept all day and was awake all night the neurologist suggested seroquel. We gave half a pill at 8pm and the other half at 10. This worked somewhat but she would still be sleeping most of the morning. At this time a very low dose of ritalin was introduced. This combination allowed her to get the rest she needed (and us) during the night and not being so out of it in the morning. It took us a while to have mom open up about what was causing her not to be able to sleep at night. If this is the case, don't say what she is seeing is not there because that could just make matters worse. This may not be your moms problem at all but just a thought I wanted to throw out there. It is heartbreaking to watch someone cry and not know how to "fix" it. Good luck.
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How sad and troubling this must be for you. I don't have any suggestions or insight but just wanted to offer my concern for you and your mother.
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I heard about a home where they reverse the day and night, i.e. the residents and staff are awake all night going about normal routines, meals etc... and then in the morning everyone goes to sleep. Apparently it has been working well.
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2Tired, could your Mom maybe have a urinary tract infection that makes her more restless since she is needing to go to the bathroom too? My Mom gets restless and babbles and yells at night when she has a UTI until she gets an antibiotic for a few days and gets rid of the UTI.
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Well according to Moms doctor she is doing just fine. I have never actually seen him examine here, he simply goes by her bloodwork, but that's the way doctors are in these parts. Her previous doctor ( and Dad's ) was just the same. He will tell me "she's doing just fine" and send us home. I have tried to talk to him, but to no avail. I must instead talk to his front desk, and they advise me. They do not seem to be very concerned that she may have dementia. She is always fine other than having hearing difficulties when at the doctor. I asked him once, could she have a urinary problem, because she had an awful odor. He just replied that her bloodwork showed "no problems".
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No disrespect intended by this - which is meant to be a bit humorous, despite it's real truth and sobering implications - but in my role as live-in 24/7 caregiver for mom (with assistance/periodic breaks from several sibs), I am more often the one who can be heard saying "God help me, please help me" (that EXACT phrase) repeatedly...

I can't say mom exactly cries at night, but there is significant sighing and moaning/groaning, often to the point that it sounds as if something might be seriously wrong, and I have to ask. (It isn't.) There is also some semblance of that going on during the day, but it is a little more like whining/lamenting. (When asked if she is OK, I am told repeatedly "I just like to fuss".)

While all of this can be somewhat unnerving, maybe a little frustrating or annoying, it is a relatively minor difficulty of this venture as far as I am concerned - on the scale of difficulty of all things that make this such an incredible challenge.

Not to worry, I have no intention of trying to outline those things that do tend to do me in. I haven't the energy for that. But I do ask God for help ALL day EVERY day, to get through each minute, hour, day.

And to answer the initial question that was asked, yes, I believe what you are experiencing with your mom is indeed an aspect of dementia.

God help us, please help us ALL.
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I'm wondering if part of this is actually pretty similar to a small child waking up in the middle of the night in a strange environment. My granddaughter moaned and cried out in the night when staying with us, until we would go in and reassure her and settle her back down. Perhaps our elders are experiencing something like that, waking up partially or fully and not realizing where they are and being confused. I'm realizing that perhaps an always familiar "blankee" and/or loved stuffed animal might help. My son and his wife used a "white noise" machine when my granddaughter was quite young. Perhaps that would help to block out background noises - especially for elders in settings that are noisy. In addition to ruling out other causes, perhaps taking an approach similar to that with small children in unfamiliar settings might help...
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