My mom (86) has somewhat moderate dementia. I live with her and am her primary caregiver and it’s been a slow decline for the last 5 years. She recently had a bad UTI and ended up in the hospital and then rehab for several weeks. When she returned home, she was incontinent, much less mobile and her dementia seemed to have progressed.
After a setback of another UTI, she was unable to get out of bed, and I was changing her diapers. The home health people told me maybe I should get her back into the hospital and rehab again. But it seemed to me that being in the hospital was what got her into this, and I decided that since I had overcome my main stumbling block, which was learning to change the diapers of an adult in a bed (thank you YouTube videos and home health aides), that I would try to keep her home and see if I could help her improve.
And miracle of miracles, she has! She started using the bathroom again one day, and has gone back to wearing pullups instead of briefs. She also is more alert, and seemed to get her energy back and can walk some with her walker. And therein lies the problem I am now having: at night, she gets out of her bed to use the bathroom and most of the time doesn’t use her walker.
We’ve had to pick her up off the floor a few times and I am so worried that one of these nights she’ll be hurt. She is sleeping downstairs in a hospital bed. We are upstairs and can’t hear a thing that goes on down there. I set up a baby monitor which helps, but my hearing is not that great and it’s hard to tell sometimes what I’m hearing on that thing. So, I got a camera that I can see her on. When I hear something, I look on my phone to see what she’s doing and sometimes I see an empty bed so I rush down to find her (most of the time) safe in the bathroom, but no walker used. Sometimes she goes elsewhere after the bathroom and I find her sitting in her chair in the dark or looking out a window, or lying on the floor (luckily our house is heavily carpeted).
Some nights she gets up 3 or 4 times, and some nights she sleeps all through the night. But even when she does that, I’m up every couple of hours checking on her with my phone. Ugh, it’s taking a toll! I’ve tried putting walkers all around her bed (we have 4) so that maybe she’ll use one, or just be discouraged from getting up. Sometimes it works, sometimes she just pushes them aside. My next idea is to put some little bells on the walkers so I’ll hear her, and as soon as I get a chance I’m going to try that.
Has anyone else had this problem, or have any other ideas?