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I am a caregiver for my mom who lives with me. At this point she does sleep regularly, but she gets very anxious about being alone at night (just in her bedroom - I would never leave her all alone). It has been this way for a while, but got a lot more intense after I broke my shoulder last year. At first, the only place I could really sleep was in a recliner in our living room. Saying she wanted to help me, she started sleeping on the couch. Since then, she has become increasingly concerned about being alone at night. We had house guests recently and during that time we shared a room and now she gets really anxious any time I try to herd her back into her own bedroom. I love her and I'm with her 24 hours a day, but she just gets so sad about going back to her room and says she is scared. I just don't have the heart to make her. As selfish as it makes me feel, I have to admit I miss having one small area of my life that was my space and not devoted to caring for her. Has anyone else experienced this? Suggestions?

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Mum sleeps with two stuffed toys and you would have thought the world was about to end if I drop one on the floor. If I take them from her while she is asleep she wakes so she does seem to get comfort from them - I also put a lavender sachet inside each one which helps her relax too if thats any help to you xxxx
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Great ideas above. I would try a few things to see if they might help her sleep alone again. You have to have some boundaries for your own sanity. Sleeping alone is your right and I would have to insist it happen that way. She will eventually adapt.

I like the idea about the doll or stuff animal. You might also take one of your shirts and place it in her bed. Maybe your scent would relax and comfort her.

They also have devices for kids that has a little night light that displays on the ceiling that is supposed to lull them to sleep. Depending on her stage, it might or might not help. You can check it out online and gauge for yourself. Some have scenes of stars or water.

There are also soothing sound CD's that play things like rain, which again, may or may not help her. I know that sometimes a person with dementia may not interpret sound the way we would. But, there is also soothing music that might comfort her.

I think that being consistent over time with her alone bedtime would eventually work. AND I might also discuss with her doctor. She may have anxiety that needs treatment.
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OzarkOlly, I love that you talked about limits. I set up limits when I first came here and have stuck with them. Mine are pretty much the same as yours. Sleeping in my room would not be allowed. She already divides her sleeping between her bed and the living room sofa and doesn't get out of bed until lunchtime. This means she pretty much occupies the whole house except for a few hours in the afternoon. If I didn't have the sanctuary of my two rooms, I would have no place to live in the house. Caregivers need their own sanctuary when they are living with elder parents.
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I, too, have experienced this. Just about every evening, once it gets dark, Mom starts making statements, "I wish we slept in the same room"...."We used to sleep in the same bed" (we never did)..."Well, we used to sleep in the same room". No, Mom, you've always slept in your room & I've always slept in my own room. Some may say I'm being cruel or selfish, but I tell her in no uncertain terms that we will NOT be sleeping in the same room & most DEFINITELY not in the same bed. Sorry, but I've had to deal with her behaviors, obsessions & tantrums living in my house for 5+ years...the last 9 months as a sole 24/7 caregiver with NO respite...and I will NOT give up the few hours of privacy I have in my bedroom at night. If she can't bear to sleep in her own room, by herself, then it's time for me to place her in a nursing home where she can have a roommate that sleeps in the same room as her. I've drawn 3 "red lines in the sand" in regards to placement....if she hurts one of my pets....if she can't sleep in her own room & if she toilets in inappropriate places like closets, etc./becomes incontinent.
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There are threads on this forum about dolls for people with dementia. Use the search bar and type in "dolls" and read the posts that come up.
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She needs anxiety medication and a thorough review with a neurologist. You also need free time at least one day a week and preferably two. Separation anxiety should not be ignored.
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My mom gets lonely too periodically, I think sometimes it is really about feeling helpless and being afraid of abandonment. What about a stuffed animal to keep her company at night? I never would have thought my mother would become attached to her "buddy" as much as she has.

Another thing I have found to be helpful is to use a two way baby monitor, that way you can speak to your mom and reassure her that you can hear her and are near by.

Or you could resort to the little trick we often use on young children, lay down beside her in her own bed and then sneak away once she is sleeping.
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