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This a recently new behavior, I am his daughter and caretaker and I am used to him getting up on his own. He enjoys the music very much singing and clapping his hands, but now he seems to stay in there to me too long-- I have to cox him now to get up and eat and more and more often he tells me he is not hungry-- I try to allow him to make the decision in order to keep his independence because sometimes he says that he knows where the food is. Other times when I have been able to get him up and I have given him the food he tells me he is not hungry and may let the food sit there and get cold and then eat it--not wanting me to heat it up.


I admit sometimes I feel guilty because there are times when he is in his room that I get a chance to take care of other house work or other matters that require me handle business either on the phone or the computer for both him and myself. But I feel he should be up more--is this a normal behavior with dementia patients?


He also often may get up very late at night or many times I will find him already up by the time I have awakened in the morning and then he may go back to bed during the rest of the day or fall asleep on the sofa sometimes after eating or not.


Has anybody else experienced this?

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As always, Jeanne has a thoughtful response

Music seems to be one connection the brain can still handle with dementia

Everyone likes a little company while eating - Can you sit with dad during lunch and listen to some Johnny Cash?

Unless he is depressed or losing weight then I wouldn't worry too much other than to make sure he gets some exercise 

Music is always playing during meals at mom's memory care but with the dining room noise and her near deafness she can't hear it and yet she loves music

I have a small CD player on her nightstand but she has trouble even hearing that unless the volume is up
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BTW, if you are encouraging your dad to stay in bed for your own convenience, shame on you and go ahead and feel guilty. But if you are merely taking advantage of this behavior to get some things done, ditch the guilt.

Seeing our loved ones declining hurts. It is natural to feel sad, to feel powerless, to have stress. But guilt is just not appropriate.
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Disruptions to normal sleep patterns are VERY common in dementia.

I take it you are not really worried about how much country music Dad listens to, but are concerned about how much time he spends in bed and how little he eats. Is that right?

It doesn't sound like he sleeps all the time he is in bed. He is singing along and snapping his fingers, etc. Do you think it would be better if he sat in the living room and listened to the music enthusiastically there?

Dad is 85 years old and has dementia. What is he going to do when he gets up? Call the guys over for a poker game? Clean out the garage? Bake bread? Build a birdhouse? LOL, I suspect his choices are limited and some days don't seem worth the bother of getting up. Perhaps it would help to offer an activity a few days a week. Can he go on outings? Was wandering through the home improvement center the highlight of his week in his younger days? What if you said, "tomorrow afternoon I'm going to Home Depot and I hope you'll come along"? Might that give him some incentive to get out of bed tomorrow? If he was a gardener, try a trip to a plant nursery or a local public garden. Maybe Thursdays could be your field trip days. Maybe playing a board game or card game at his level every day at 1:15 would give some structure to his days. You can try some things, but do realize that you can't control the workings of his dementia.

You'll find many posts on here about elders who don't eat much. Some have lots of suggestions for improvement. First, is this a medical problem for him? Is he losing weight? Or is he still eating but not as much as he used to or not as much as you do? If he is losing weight. let his doctor know.

From your description, I think I'd try providing small amounts of food frequently, and rely heavily on things that can sit out. A cute little dish of peanut butter, some graham crackers, a very small banana. Eat it now or eat it later -- it will have the same amount of calories and nutrition. A sealed single-serving of pudding, and some grapes. Cheese and crackers. I wouldn't fuss about it. Just place it on his night stand or at his place at the table. Give him what he likes, and don't be too concerned about balanced meals.

As dementia progresses, some of the changes make life easier for us. Others complicate our caregiving. But just because they make our lives easier doesn't mean they are bad or we should feel guilty. When my husband went to a wheelchair it made my life far less stressful -- he wasn't falling down several times a day, and he was happier. Should I have felt guilty for enjoying this change? The real question is not how the changed symptoms make us feel, but what will provide the best quality of life for our loved ones.
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If this is new behavior he needs to be evaluated by his primary.
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