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My mom is 88 yrs old. She's always been very tired, lethargic, depressed. She's on meds for these problems and sees an internal med doc plus two specialists. For the past 6 months Mom sleeps about 18 hrs a day. I'm able to get two meals a day with some fluids in her but she wants to go right back to bed most days. Occasionally she has stayed up in a lift chair but falls asleep - that's okay with me since she is upright and avoids fluid pooling in her lungs - but most days she demands to go back to bed. On two different occasions I put her to bed at her 8 p.m. bedtime and just let her sleep until she decided to wake up the next day. Finally at 7 p.m., both times, she woke up, had something to eat/drink, and then went right back to sleep again. She does not have a UTI but I can tell when she becomes dehydrated as her urine output decreases and her urine has a terrible odor to it. Lab checks return normal and with increased fluid intake, the foul odor disappears. Her word-finding is much more difficult over the past 6 months plus her memory is fading much more rapidly. Up until about 6 months ago, she could tell family stories and recall names of family and friends. Not able to do that now. So far we're managing her at home okay with the help of a walker and one of us helping her. My thing about taking care of relatives at home vs facility placement is safety - when it becomes unsafe for them to walk with their assistive devices or they have extended periods of bowel/bladder incontinence, the docs have agreed that placement is warranted. Excessive sleeping is a new one on me. Pedal pulses are strong, arms and legs are warm, no pain complaints. Should I just let her sleep and get her up for a meal 3 times a day or should I enforce some way of keeping her sitting up for a few hours? I can't sit with her 2-3 hours at a time as I have a job from home and a 70-yr-old husband who needs a little help now and then. Any ideas? Thanks a bunch ahead of time!

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This may sound silly, but I'll put it out there anyway. Do you think she could handle and not be offended by one of those adult coloring books? This could at least get her mind in motion rather than being so lethargic. Possibly she could sit upright in bed supported by a pillow behind her and engage in this activity. Be prepared for resentment, though! IDK.
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tired 1of 4...don't you have anything better to do than continually addressing me???? lol
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... life experiences ... I'm unclear as to where you've taken Such offense of anything even close that would warrant such comments from you. Early on in this thread there was simple back and forth comments from everyone ... I've reread my comments and the only place you 'were named (thought u weren't) was my cementing the need to check deeper when anyone is sleeping for 6 months, period... my comment to you was in no way initiating any hostility what-so-ever, so what is your deal? Don't answer that... seriously just move onto someone else you can gripe about,or with, I'm not interested and have given u too much attention as is... So read something or someone else .. But this stops here, got it.
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.... not sure what you're deal is, but move on.
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tired 1of4...not only are you an authority on this board...you're a comedian too!!! lol
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Again, definitely get her checked out. After re-reading your post, it looks like she does have depression as I suspected. Depression can definitely lead to excessive sleeping. Depression can also be tied to other mental issues that can also lead to excessive sleeping. Be very wary though that depression can also lead to certain other actions such as self harm. It sounds like someone may need to help her balance the chemicals in her brain and it may be a very good idea to start dragging her out of bed and engaging her in some kind of activity to keep her mind off of whatever it is that's depressing her. I know when I was in a group home, napping was rarely allowed and in some cases when it was allowed the staff made sure our naps were short. It's always a good idea to come up with activities to keep the person engaged and interested.
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... what are you talking about " Life experiences" ....I don't believe you were named in any of my comments... might I suggest you try not to take things personally unless you are directly named, especially when there are tens upon tens of people commenting and many comments are of similar content ... as-to the rest of your comment, it's curious as to why you are displaying such immaturity. Not one person has expressed themselves in any way similar as you regarding the adolescent-type wording. Any poster will (or will not) take whatever advice they feel will assist their situation, so becoming upset and lashing out, is for nill.
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tired 1 of 4...i never said that she should not have her mother checked out by a doctor!!! but i did say...that my mother slept a lot way before she died. and please mind your own business and let others make their own comments about their experiences! are you the "authority" on this site? who are you????
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To Kmcares... absolutely her blood ox is good (glad you had her checked) . ..one thing I don't want to do on this forum is to argue points that honestly shouldn't be argued.. I felt strongly when advising to get her checked and to not let "it's just the dying process" be answers for you. The way youve explained yourself simply proves she's in the absolute best hands and hearts possible ~ feel proud of yourself for being successful at keeping her both healthy as can be and as cared for as can be. The sacrifices of offering care are not small. I genuinely wish you and your family well.
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I have noticed that my 80 year old mother with moderate dementia says she is tired and needs to go lie down whenever she is confused about something. Which happens a lot now. We don't try to make her do any activities that add to her confusion and anxiety. So it may be that she is just trying to give her brain and herself a break from the confusion?
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kmcares...thanks for the update...sound like you are taking great care of her!!
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Thanks to all of you for your comments. Mom had an appt with her family practice doc Tuesday. Her pulse ox at that time was 92% on room air. I asked them to walk her up the hall and then back to her treatment room and the PO2 had dropped to 88% (Medicare guidelines okay O2 with a PO2 of 88% or lower). My mom, my brother and I decided that at this point we'll continue as we are - letting her sleep as much as she wants but encouraging at least twice a day sitting in her lift chair for 2-3 hours at a time. She's been sick with several medical conditions for the past 60 years, nothing serious enough to end her life but has had surgeries to correct various conditions and problems. She's just a frail, 88-yr-old woman who, I think, is just tired and ready to die. She enjoys family coming in to visit but after a couple of hours she's tired and ready to go back to bed. A trip to town (about 15 miles away) wears her out. She's the last of her immediate family still living. I think we each are doing what we see or know what we need to do for our loved ones - be that getting them up more often, letting them rest, or some middle ground. I think this forum is the best one I've found that addresses all possible options without making us feeling bad or guilty over what we're doing. Mom is happy here - has lived with my husband and me for 9 years now - and enjoys watching the traffic on the road when she's up. She gets mail from many of her family and church family and that gives her great joy. When she first moved in with us she would wash dishes, fold clothes, sweep a couple of floors, just whatever she felt like doing. She just gradually has gotten to the point that she can only fold clothes and then not like she used to, they're folded in odd shapes but it makes her happy. I will say I have the cleanest washcloths and towels in the county these days! I make sure they're nice and warm out of the dryer and then take the basket downstairs to her little in-law apartment. She'll pull a bunch up in her lap and hug them to her. Reminds me of my son around the age of 3-4 when he loved the smell and feel of nice warm towels! Again, thank you for your help here. I'm sure I'll have more questions but will look forward to the running commentary on all questions asked. Thanks!
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My husband has been on hospice care at home for 13 months. He sleeps some 22+ hours a day. He has congestive heart failure. His nurse says the reason he's made it this long is because he sleeps so much. It's all his heart can do to keep him alive, and being up and around puts a strain on his heart. He has one meal a day. All his numbers -- blood pressure, pulse, oxygen-- are good. When he's up he's pleasant, sweet, snd jokes with us. Works for us. Hospice is wonderful!
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The dying process is only one possibility among other possible problems, but also can include downright laziness if there are no physical problems and no dying process going on. There are some cases where there is no physical reason to sleep excessively, it depends on each case. The dying process is not always the case but it is a possibility. There are other possible physical issues, definitely get the person carefully and fully evaluated by a doctor. If the doctor can find absolutely nothing, then laziness should be considered as another possibility, don't eliminate this possibility until all other avenues have been checked. People who are inactive sometimes become so bored due to lack of money and they may actually resort to excessive sleeping just out of boredom which stems from laziness. You may also want to have the person's mental health check for depression or some other underlying mental issue also because mental issues can also lead to excessive sleeping along with related social issues. There are multiple avenues to check to see why a person is sleeping excessively, the dying process is not the only possibility when there are other avenues to consider
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sleeping MOST of the time...is surely a person in the dying process! you don't just die...it takes a while for your body to die!! the body keeps losing the ability to do things until that person can't function anymore. posters above!!
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....excellent comment "rare-find".. excepting the comment "unless they are in the dying process" ,. the difference in this posters explaination is 6months of the symptoms .. 6 months of excessive sleeping is not in any way a "part of the "natural" dying process. This individual needs to be medically investigated for underlying issues rather than anyone ever assuming or suggesting it's just a part Of dying.
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Excessive sleeping is definitely not healthy and can be easily resolved by keeping the patient up unless there in the dying process. If they happen to be cleared medically by a doctor, I'd get the person up at 7 AM and keep them awake until about nine or 10 PM. During the day they'd be doing chores or other activities to help stimulate them and improve strength and stamina. During the day they'd definitely be drinking plenty of water throughout the day and eating healthy meals. I'd definitely take steps to even prevent napping so that they'll sleep during the night instead of during the day, and if I caught them napping, I'd drag them out of bed and put them into an activity to motivate them. This would only be done if they were proven healthy enough to do so because excessive sleeping for a healthy person is very unhealthy. Definitely get the person checked by a doctor and cleared medically to resolve the matter of excessive sleeping because this is definitely not healthy
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... I hear ya "cwillie" ... it's Almost a given that when a person is exhibiting signs of lethargic, lack of energy, mental confusion, when they are over 70 the medical field and others tend to assume theyre shutting down getting ready to move on... when 9 times out of ten there's a physical cause. And to "life experiences" comment .. I understand what you're saying but I'm telling you straight up, that any human body that is naturally declining to pass on will not show same signs for 6 months ... 2 to 4 weeks when close to the end, yes, but not 6 months. Now could someone actually die after 6 months of said symptoms, of course but most likely from an underlying condition rather than a natural progression to death.
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tiredof1of 4...yes, she could have all of the above...but...that's what happened to my mother when she started the dying process...to each his own!
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It is hard to know how far to push it, to determine if it is a sign of the end of life or something that could be rectified. When my mom suddenly started sleeping day and night and physically couldn't/wouldn't get out of bed she was tested to see if she had a stroke then sent home with the non diagnosis of "sometimes they just get tired", implying that she was nearing the end of life. We have been treating her palliatively for years now and every day I struggle with the thought that she might have gotten better if someone would have just bothered to see past her age and looked for a cause and treatment.
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.... retaining CO2 will cause lethargism, excessive sleep, confusion the same as the others Ive listed .. . So take her in the emergency room, have them check her blood, the her blood ox levels, then her CO2 levels. Good luck.
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..speaking to above comment, 6 months is longer than any dying process. If you want to look at life and aging everyday, we are all in a dying process, literally. But 6 months will tend to scream a few things far louder; such as anemic, low blood 0x levels, extreme depression. And the first two can also cause the later. Is she on oxygen? When our blood oxygen is low or bottoming out it will cause extreme/ excessive tiredness (at times unable to waken) ...it will cause slurred speech and confused thought process. She may also be retaining carbon dioxide in her lungs. If she's not up walking around, breathing deeply, her gas may not be exchanging in her lungs and may be toxifying her blood ... another reason to take her in to check her blood oxygen and lung capacities.
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she could be in the dying process...same happened to my mother...she just wanted to sleep. i woke her up 3 times a day to drink her pureed juices. if a person is sleeping around 20 hours a week...they are eligible for hospice...you should check with them. gooood luck
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I, too, work from home. My mother is 88 also. I am having a similar situation with my mother. I have her get up for all three meals and her medicine which is taken at meals. She may go back to bed after her meal if she chooses. When she stays up, she falls asleep in her recliner a lot of the time. It is harder to get her out to her doctors. Her nurse navigator at her internist's gave me the number of a service where doctors and nurses come out to the house and Medicare pays for it. I have her wear a Tena pad for her semi-incontinence. We see that she changes them regularly. We got a bath lift. She likes baths. I have lymphedema and my arm and hand is soft casted until the swelling goes down. It could be months. It cost me $222.00 a day for respite care for her at a good nursing home. Medicare does not pay for respite care. I found a pair of men's underwear among her private things after I brought her home. I plan to call the nursing home and ask them if Romeo wants his underwear back. Nursing home residents have rights now. They may go anywhere they choose with or without a walker (their choice) and if they fall, they fall. The nursing director filled me in. Pamstegma always has wonderful ideas. I didn't know about the pinch test. Mom has been having unexplained bleeding. The ER doc did a rectal swab and checked her urine. All okay. Did he do a vaginal swab? Of course not. I had her back to the internist and he was upset. He asked the proper questions and ordered the tests that the ER doc should have. Its always something, but I still believe it is better than a nursing home. She does enjoy gossip magazines now and some tv shows. I have the tv on while she eats and sometimes she stays awake to watch. Her doctors are all pleased with the care I'm giving her and they make themselves available if I need them. Hang in there. Each situation is different.
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It might be a good idea to have a recliner to keep her legs elevated, or an adjustable bed so she can elevate her head and/or feet. Learn to check hydration with the 'pinch test'. You gently pinch up the skin on the back of her hand. It should go right back down. If it goes down slowly, that's mild dehydration . If it stays up, that's a bad sign and you call the MD. At some point you might want to ask for a visiting nurse for her, because you won't be able to get her to the MD's office. Mom had a weekly nurse for 9 months and that kept her at home.
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