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My mother has just recently started closing her eyes while she is awake. She will even talk with her eyes closed. She does this in the morning hour's, then toward noon and throughout the day, her eyes are open. She is getting plenty of rest throughout the night... it's like she can't get herself to wake up.

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I remember, when the children were small. Hide and seek, if their eyes were closed. you could not see them. lol Children's logic.
It was safer inside the eyelids than outside (seeing)

My be they feel safer? It does shut all visuals 'goings on' out.
Good Luck
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My mother is 96 and has recently started to close her eyes so much. When I ask her why her eyes are closed she says she doesn't know. I came on line to see if I could find out more about this but reading some of these comments has given me comfort in at least knowing that I am not alone. She has early dementia, too, but is in no pain and is a very cheery, happy, lovely lady. I will do what many have written and just accept it, try not to worry and just continue to look after her with love and care. Thank you.
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If she is having difficulty concentrating closing ones eyes can help you focus on what you are saying . Or maybe she is praying.
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My mother is 101 and has been living with me for almost 20 years since she was diagnosed with Dementia. Up until a month ago she was going to a day program but that ended/postponed because she could no longer walk up and down the 6 stairs so until I get a lift put outside, she's home all day. Since that time, I have seen a serious decline in mom and its breaking my heart, I know she's 101 and I am blessed to have had all this time but it still hurts to see her decline so fast. She just started keeping her eyes closed while she's sitting up in her transfer chair. She keeps them closed while she eats, she yells during the night (before it was just the groaning) and she claps her hands almost incessantly during the night. She can no longer tell me she needs to use the commode and she has developed a huge pressure sore (I've been treating it) even though I move her during the night and I keep her washed, cleaned and dry and she still developed a couple of small skin abrasions. I have been crying these last few days because I don't want to put her in the nursing home and I'm hoping God gives me the strength to continue providing her with loving care. Your comments above have been very helpful and it lets me know that I'm not alone on this journey. Thank you.
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Michelle
South Africa
My mom was never officially diagnosed with Alzhiemers but all the signs were there. It was like something happened overnight. She started forgetting where she put stuff and confusion of where she was. We soon realised that she shouldn't be allowed to take her own medication or help herself around the kitchen. A month ago she undergone minor surgery for a prolapsed bladder. Mom is 75 years old and the Dr's assured us it's a common procedure. The procedure went well according to the Dr's and mom wqs discharged two days later of which I thought to be too soon because we were told she would have to stay in hospital atleast 5-8days after the procedure. Then she incurred an infection and was readmitted to hospital. She also had an absis that needed to be drained. She was very disoriented and unhappy that she had to stay behind in the hospital. They thought we had her admitted to a mental hospital. We had to make sure by orientation that one of us is there to give her security that she's not been abandoned and constantly explain where she is and why. That we love her and that we will always be back. Almost two weeks later and mom is discharged. Now she doesn't eat at all, she keeps her eyes closed all the time, she don't have bowlmovement and barely passes urine. She talks all the time even when she sleeps and random talk. Westarted feeding her eEnsure and jelly. My sisters assist with caring for mom but there are things they feel they don't have the"gift" to do and I am sure I don't have to tell you what those things are :( I am very encouraged with everything I read here and I find my knowledge and encouragement in all your posts. Thank you for sharing. God bless you all x
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One reason they keep their eyes closed is to shut out overwhelming visual stimulation(which is normal stuff but not anymore) that confuses & scares them & can contribute to delirium agitation anxiety fear.The dementia is advancing,It's not a good sign, usually associated with advanced dementia.Usually the beginning of shutting down.It can be pain,constipation,infection,pain killers..so many things can cause delirium.Some are like this for years, some are shutting down.They are frightened & are trying to block it out.
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I asked the CNA that helps me with my husband this question. She said that it is often that it just takes too much energy to keep the eyes open. Closing the eyes is just one less thing that needs to be done.
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If she is dealing with dementia there could be a couple of reasons.
She may be tired.
She may be having visual problems, could be "floaters" a shadow or maybe things are just moving too fast for her brain to register what is going on.
And light may bother her eyes.
You can try keeping the room a little dimmer and see if that makes a difference.
Sunglasses might help as well.
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My mother-in-law is in the 6-7th stage of Alzheimers. She keeps her eyes shut almost all the time when she is sitting. She keep them closed while she is eating.She opens her eyes long enough to see the food and stick her fork in it, then she closes them again while she eats that bite. When she sits down, which is not for very long periods, her eyes are almost always shut. The house is not bright, I think it's just something that some alz. patients do. She also tears up her bed every time we make it up. This is just something that she feels like she needs to do. We just accept it and do the best we can to take care of her.
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My dad is 96 and his dementia has progressed over the last few years......he rarely opens his eyes, even when I feed him. He is complete care and we have him home with us, but he is almost non-verbal these days. It's helpful to know that others have noticed the eye closing thing, too.......I just wonder why? He is constantly picking, too......we have give him a washcloth to hold and that helps a bit. I'm glad I found this site........it helps to know other are going through this.
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She may have dry eyes. There are eye drops for this, or some of her medications may cause her eyes to be slightly dilated and sensitive to light. Try dimming the lights and see if she is more comfortable opening her eyes. Check the side effects of her medications for light sensitivity.
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My Grandma does the same thing. She'll talk with her eyes closed, sometimes while she's eating, she'll chew with her eyes closed. I don't know why she does it, but she's usually relaxed when she does it, so I don't worry too much about it.
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My mom does that a lot, I do think the light is sensitive to them. But, my Mom sleeps with her eyes open a lot. At first I was scared to death because she looked at me and didnt respond at all, I thought her brain had hemmoraged again or something! Then I started noticing her lips puff out air just like when she sleeps and I finally figured it out. Heres something to read that talks about "routine and changes for people with dementia."....................................
Alzheimers patients have the ability to read body language and voice inflections long into their illness.
They will still feel frustration, anger, loss, happiness, sadness, joy and love
BUT…they lose the ability to channel those feelings productively due to their brain.
A change in Environment is devastating, heightens behavior problems, disrupts sleeping, eating and toileting problems also impacting greatly on the caretaker.
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Thank you all for your input :)
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Thank you, Carl...I didn't even give that a thought!...This did happen right after I moved in with my mom. Her daily routine before was with my oldest sister caring for her, and I would do the doctor appointments, and run errands for her. Now that she has become much worse, I have moved in with my mom to care for her 24/7 Hopefully after being here with her for over a month now, she will adjust to the changes soon. Thanks. Loretta
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Hi, this has happened 2 times in the past 8 months to my 92 yr old mother who has lived with us for 6 yrs and has dementia. She spent time over to my sisters house and didnt seem comfortable.... but we left her anyways thinking she would be fine (she used to spend whole summers with my sister). My sister called me and said she has been trying to get mom to open her eyes and she was shaking and whinning. So she called an ambulance and went to the hospital. My wife and I got there and went to either side of the bed and told her to calm down and relax (in a quiet soothing voice) she recognized our voice and stopped shaking and we had her eyes open in 5 mins. She wouldnt open them for over an hour for my sister. We were told it was an anxiety attack. She has done this one other time when she wasnt in her normal "element". She seems to like the same routine. Hope this helps. Carl
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Well, I did ASK HER, but the only answer I had got from her was, I don't know. She sometimes don't even answer. She just had an eye examination last month and her eyes were fine. She hasn't been on any new med's... She does have Dementia, and I was just wondering if this was one of the symptoms??
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Christina, my mom had macular degeneration. I missed her looking at me so much. It was always off to the side. I hate that disease. You are a good daughter.
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My Mother does the same. She has dementia and macular degeneration. She gets the crusty eyelids, too. We have drops for her. I am always cleaning her eyes with pure water and Cotten pad. And her nose and ears. I'm like a mama cat with her. She is legally blind, but she will often open her eyes and look right at me, try to smile. Kills me:(
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Light sensitivity can be the cause. I have a problem with that myself. Also, often during the night, crusts can form on eyes and make them hard to open. I would have the eye doctor take a look at her eyes because there could be an infection or an eye disease.
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Ask her!
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I think it is a comfort measure.
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Sometimes medication causes the pupils to dilate, making light painful.
This might explain why she closes her eyes in the a m. but not later on in the day.
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Patients with dementia will close their eyes. Why? Try asking your mother, but if she is non-responsive, then you will never know. You cannot take her to an optometrist because she will not be able to help with the examination. Don't worry about it. Just keep caring for her and know you are a good daughter!
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My mom started doing this when she developed Alzheimers. I am not suggesting that your mom has it due to this, but I find it interesting.
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I immediately thought of my dad who will say "I'm just resting my eyes."
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I actually have really bad allergies this year and I don't normally. Could it be that simple? My eyes are really itchy and painful. I have been taking benedryl and it helps but check with her doctor first because it can cause a lot of sleepiness. My husband read on line that to help with swollen eyes you soak regular tea bags and then put in the fridge for an hour to cool and then lay with them on your eyes for about 10 minutes. You could look that up and check it out for yourself and try it on Mom. I doubt it could hurt her. I did it and it was soothing and didn't stain my skin which I was afraid of.
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Have you taken her to get her eyes examine? Could be she is sensitive to light. Just a thought.
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