My sister and I are caring for our mother who will soon be 103 years old in her home. We are avoiding a nursing home -a promise we made years ago to her - as long as she "knows where she is".
She is very sweet and her mind is good, although we are seeing some short term forgetfulness and anxiety recently. She's broken and rehabbed from two broken hips and takes little medicine. (Eyedrops for glaucoma 7 times a day.)
Our biggest problem right now is trying to get enough sleep. Mother wakes up some nights 5 or 6 times to visit the bathroom. (She is not incontinent!)
My sister and I are ages 68 and 78 and have homes and families of our own some distances away, but we take shifts to stay with Mother. After 3 nights without sound sleep, we feel like we are falling apart.
Mother checks negative for UTIs and we've tried everything - propping her up, Geritol, darkening her room, etc - but nothing seems to help. The strange thing is that during the day, she goes 6 hours or more and doesn't have to go to the bathroom. Just let her get into bed and us into a sound sleep, and the wake ups begin and can continue every hour or two, with them sometimes occurring 20-30 min. apart.
Her doctors, including a gerontologist, are stumped. We know she has a cystocele and had a pessary for awhile, but that caused more problems. Several of the doctors tell us to have her urinate in her protective pad when she wakes up, but she is not comfortable with doing that. Besides, any urine touching her very fragile skin for even short periods of time seems to set off fungal infections.
We can't afford more than a little respite care through the local office of aging, especially at night.
Any suggestions or explanations would be appreciated because we cannot go on much longer. After all, sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture on some places!