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Mom is 85, and has severe dementia. Her bedtime routine includes a bowl of applesauce with her meds ground up and added to it, with a glass of water either before or after the applesauce. The meds include Famotidine for reflux, and risperidone and melatonin to help her sleep. When she is done with this I put the bed down flat so I can help her turn on her side for sleeping and then I put the head of the bed back up a few inches to help prevent any reflux from occurring. One time recently I put the bed down right after she finished, and her food came back up and then went down the wrong way and she began hacking and coughing and turning purple. Fortunately she did not aspirate any of it, but it was traumatic for her and for me and I know we may not be so lucky next time.

So, now I put the bed down part way for a while to give her food time to settle before putting it all the way down flat, but I don't know how long I should wait. And if she falls asleep while shes waiting, and I wake her up to reposition her on her side (she doesn't sleep very well on her back), sometimes she can't go back to sleep when I'm done.

Any ideas? Thanks!

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Give the famotidine at least an hour before bedtime to neutalize the acid before the meds and applesauce. Have the main meal of the day in the middle of the day and keep supper light and at least an hour before bedtime. Never lie someone with reflux flat in bed. Reflux or GERD is very common in the elderly and not necessarily connected with dementia. As we age muscles loose their strength so swallowing is more difficult and sphincters loose their elasticity. Hiatal hernias are also very common. Again nothing to do with dementia and these days can be easily treated with outpatient surgery.
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Least 30 minutes to give food to digest right. The head should be elevate about least 30-45 degree any problem with digestion.
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I plan to ask the next time I go to the VA. I did ask once and I was told it was not unusual. I think it is weird. At first I thought it was someone's clock radio, but then how many sr citizens get up at 3am to go to a job? I have asked folks here if they had one on at 3am or 7am. None had.
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vja1951, auditory hallucinations should be reported to the MD asap. Testing can determine the cause.
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Does anyone know about hearing music when there is no radio or TV on? Is it is someone's head and is it a bad sign?
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Wait at least 30 mins. The food has to get into the stomach and begin the digestion process, but do not put her flat on the bed. Put her head up and if she is sleepy, she will sleep on her side with the bed slightly elevated. Reflux occurs because the acids in the stomach come back up through the sphincter which has lost its closing ability and will allow the acids to go back into the esophagus up to the throat area. If the epiglottis (the little flap that closes when you eat and breath) doesn't close, she will aspirate the liquid into her lungs. You want to prevent that from happening, so keep her head elevated.
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Wow. So I'm guessing acid reflux is common w dementia. Moms has increasingly gotten worse. What stage do u think this happens?
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Hi Kabeeena,
I think an hour would be best practice. My dad is
94 & after supper we put him in his motorized chair to
Elevate his feet & leave him sitting up for 30-45 mins. If your Mom needs an hour, I wonder if you could give her the meds just a bit earlier.... So that she might have sufficient time before she gets tired. Also, applesauce is supposed to be great to soothe reflux...
Maybe you could mix a little banana with it.. To add a
Little thickness to the sauce. That may aid in her digestion, unless she has problems with bananas. Blessings to you for helping your mom!!
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I have acid reflux. I have found that even eating a light snack (midnight snacking) and then lying down on my Wedge pillow - I still wake up in the morning with a nasty acidic taste in my mouth. For me, after a meal, even if it's 1 hour later, I feel miserable when lying on a 45 degree angle on my back. I have noticed that if I sleep on my left side, the acid reflux is not as bad. It puts the weight off my stomach.

With mom and now with dad, I usually don't change their pamper after they've eaten. If dad ate at 6pm, I give it 2 hours to change his pamper because of the constant turning. By the way, there's no need to put your mom's bed flat down when changing her. I have always had my parent's heads slightly elevated. The only times I've seen the bed flatten was when the govt caregivers were giving them a sponge bath.
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Hi Kabeena! My 87 year-old mother has dementia and just recently went for a trip to the ER for a UTI when they discovered she also had pneumonia. At her follow up visit with her primary doctor they told me that it was probably due to aspiration and therefore ordered a Speech Therapy Eval and treatment for her swallowing. The Speech Therapist then came out and evaluated her and made some helpful suggestions, including waiting to lay her down until at least an hour after she eats. This has never really been a problem for us as my mom usually sits up in the recliner for at least an hour before she goes to bed at night, and she doses on and off during the day in the recliner as well. But it sounds to me as if you should probably wait for at least an hour before laying her down flat on her side. I have also heard somewhere that it is best to lay on your left side, but my mom always sleeps on her right side. So I hope this helps! Best of luck!
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I also suffer from reflux and my doctor told me not to lie down for at least an hour, but if i have to lie down sooner due to illness, etc. then I should lie down on my left side. That has really worked for me. Also she told me never to bend at the waist to pick up anything, always bend with the knees.
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After eating it is best for digestion to get the person moving about... if they aren't that mobile, then sitting up for at least 30 minutes to an hour, if possible. I have acid reflux so I know it isn't easy to deal with. right after eating I can't even bend over to pick up anything or lie down to watch TV without the acid taking a detour :P
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