Grandma with dementia crying out in the night.

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I care for my grandma alone who has dementia. She moved in with us when I was barely a kid and my mom cared for her for years and when she passed away in January after battling cancer for two years, my grandma's care fell to me. So far she's been a high functioning dementia able to still take pills (I place the pills in front of her and remind her to drink water), feed herself (although I cook, chop and heat up her food), help a bit with dressing herself (helping put her bra on and shirt, sometimes pulling up the front of her pants), help a bit with toileting (able to wipe in the front). I was told last year based on her brain scans he would have said she had late stages dementia but since she's so high functioning he was hestitant to put it on her file although she does have dementia on her file. With all that background, my question is this, is it a new stage that she's calling out all hours of the night? Before when she did it, she needed to go to the bathroom, or was in pain or needed genuine help. At first last year she wouldn't call out but instead try to handle it herself. Then she was moaning out for help but now she does the moan all the time so I told her she needed to ask for help. So then she started asking for help when she needed to get up at night. But now it's every hour pretty much on the hour. She's never been a great sleeper. She's always had issues with anxiety untreated. She is on pain shots and just had a steroid shot due to neck pain (I had always refused steroid shots so perhaps it's related to that?) so her pain level shouldn't be that high. She has a bed sore that's being treated but I'm repositioning her and using a mattress that moves her around so again shouldn't be that big of an issue but perhaps it is. I just wanted to know if this calling out "help me, Help me dear Lord" is a new stage of dementia that I need to just suck it up and learn to live with even less sleep or if this is something that is being caused by an outside factor that I need to explore what is causing it?

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I suppose medication to help her sleep is an option. I'd discuss with her doctor to rule out other things. Maybe, it's part of a sleep disorder.

Is mom getting up every hour to use the bathroom or just to get up? Is this a bladder problem or insomnia problem? Does she really have to use the bathroom or does she just feel like she has to use the bathroom?
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Sunnygirl1 paragraph #1 is right on -- although that's a very expensive option. Thats what happened to my friend's mom. As long as she had someone there when she woke up, she was fine.

I think it is more of an anxious thing -- they wake up and are confused by their surroundings, what time it is, etc. Yes; they don't sleep well and then they wake up and even in the most familiar surroundings they're not sure in that moment where they are.

My mom paces the halls (in her home) all night, every night -- checking every window shade, door lock, etc. It's exhausting. She naps alot during the day. If I visit and we are out all day, busy and she isn't napping and I make her stay up til 10 or so -- then she sleeps soundly all night. Always wakes up and says "thats the best nights sleep I've had in awhile".
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Look for outside causes like the bedsore or a sore neck and see if they aren't the reason behind her nightly calls. If you've alleviated all logical reasoning for her calling out all night and she's still doing it talk to her Dr. about an anti-anxiety medication. To me it sounds like self-soothing behavior caused by anxiety but I'm not a Dr.
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Calling out for help, is something that I have read about and seen myself with some dementia patients. I knew this one lady who would cry out, "Help me. Please help me.' But when the staff asked her what was wrong, she told them that she didn't know. She could not explain why she constantly yelled for help. After a complete exam, the family hired a sitter to sit with her all of her waking hours. As long as the sitter was there to talk with her, she did not yell out. She did go downhill quickly though and did not survive for long. They never did figure it out with her.

I would explore the cause of her yelling out with her doctors to try to figure it out. Is it pain that she cannot verbalize and she needs to voice it? Maybe, her present pain management is not adequate.

Could it be her medications?

Could it be anxiety or depression that needs medication treatment?

I hope you can find some answers. Regardless of the cause though, awaking every hour during the night to attend to her is not feasible long term. You'll burn slam out without proper sleep.
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If she is peeing every hour I suspect a bladder infection. Call the MD and ask him to send a visiting nurse to get a urine sample. It would also explain the bad dreams at night.
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It could be a new stage of the dementia. It could also be that her pain level is higher than it "should be."

Report this new symptom to her doctor.
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