Why is my 86-year-old mother having constant nightmares?

Follow
Share

She has been mentioning, now complaining, of this for the past year and a half. One year ago I moved her to senior apartments. This was extremely hard on her, very depressed. Gradually she has come around a little but is still depressed, does not do much with the other renters, misses her car, etc., In addiiton she does not eat much at all, says nothing tastes good. Her meds have not changed. The doctor gave a script for an anti-depressany but she refuses to take it. What was an occasional comment about these dreams has now become fairly regular complaint. SHe does take an anxiety med, has for seven years. When I asked her what the nightmares are about she becomes quiet, does not want to mention it. Once she said she was mad at someone for somthing they saud. I have asked if they are about people she knows or knew and she said sometimes. I asked if they happened only at night-answer was usually. Asked if they happen during the day when she is laying down for a nap and she said sometimes.
Not sure who to ask for help. Her doctor usually addresses most of her complaints by telling her she is healthy for her age, to go out and enjoy life. In fairness to him he has done many blood tests, scans, etc, and other than bad arthritis she is in fairly good shape, but very depressed and anxious.
I would appreciate any guidance as it is effecting her sleep, making her dread nighttime.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
7

Answers

Show:
Look up Lewy Body dementia, it can start with the exact symptoms you are describing.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Last fall, I began to have what I thought were 'crazy dreams'. After a few weeks, I sometimes wondered if the 'dreams' were actually real, as my 'dream stories' also generally included my son and grandson, who live with my husband and me. I won't go into detail, but I thought that people I didn't know were trying to hurt us in some way, or cause some sort of trouble. Finally my son suggested I call my doctor, and see if I should make an appointment with him.
The doctor suggested checking in to the hospital urgent care, and that's what we did. It took only a few hours there to discover that this was all being caused by a serious bladder and kidney infection -- and that it's fairly common that the brain is affected in this way! They admitted me and began serious meds for the infection, and some med to keep me calmer. ....my blood pressure, of course, was seriously high by that time.
I went that far, before finally contacting my doctor who suspected it. I was kept there for 5 full days, and my cognizance still wasn't totally clear until days later.
Now I know! and I share this story with all who will listen. Since my experience, I have read and been told by nurses and doctors that bladder and kidney infections can start in seniors without any of the usual warning signs......except SERIOUS confusion!
I felt the need to advise you, as I was 72 before I experienced this - and had nothing to go on. Thank heaven I had my son to guide me to assistance.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Is your mom by any chance taking Aricept? My mom is on it and even though the instructions say to take it at night, her neurologist said to take it in the morning. He says that it gives some people terrible nightmares.
If your mom is on Aricept, see if it can be given in the morning. Might make a difference.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I was faced with living alone after I married, yep after I married. My husband accepted a night position at his company after we had been married about 3 weeks. My mother said, "Well that's it for your marriage, it's over." Turns out she was correct but back to your Mom.

Living alone is frightening at any age for some people and especially as you age and feel less confident in your ability to fight off intruders. There may be many things in play here but I believe your mother is scared to death of being alone. I don't care if there are other people living around her, they are not family or a husband they are strangers too and she is frightened.

The second area I would look at is medication. Her meds may not have changed, but her reaction to them may have. It does happen, it is like a side effect that you did not previously have that has now manifested itself. I personally took a medication for years to stop seizures with no real problem. I wanted to get pregnant and therefore stopped the medication with my doctors approval. Later when I needed to begin meds again, I went back to the same medication and it caused HORRIBLE NIGHTMARES! All night I never felt like a got a good nights sleep as I felt like I was running either away from something bad or searching for someone. This continued until my panic and anxiety attacks kicked in and I could stand it no longer and HAD TO CHANGE MEDICATION!

Have you ever tried having your Mom come and spend a few days with you or a week? It would be interesting to know if she felt more at ease and had fewer or no nightmares while with you. If there is no change then I would begin to look at her medications. Look up each one on the internet and read about the side effects of each one. You need to go the the doctor with her and tell him that this is what is happening and you need help. If he is unable to offer anything else other than a pat on the back, find a new doctor.

Personally I would bring my mother home to live with me so she would feel safe and sound. If I was unable to do that then I would find out about any and all fun functions taking place at the senior apartments and I would be her date and attend with her. I would try to help her assimilate into the group of other women. Introduce her around, speak with the other women and tell them how your Mom is shy but would really like some good friends like them. You may have to do this on numerous occasions until she can find a friend or two. I would also speak to anyone in charge and ask them to please make sure to include her and beg her if necessary to attend the events. Just because you are older does not mean you make friends any easier than you did as a young person. It may actually be worse. She needs a reason to live and I am sure she is depressed. If you could read her mind, she would probably give her eye teeth to be living with you and feel safe and loved.

Good luck to you and your Mother on this journey, it is not an easy one.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Right there with you, my mom talks about the same thing! All though, she can't remember much about the dream. Just that the "feeling about the dream" is still with her when she wakes up. I've experienced that my self once in a while so I know what she's trying to explain. The emotional response to the dream lingers for awhile. I'm thinking the same thing as was mentioned above, if this started about 1&1/2 years ago, what changed abot that time? Meds maybe or discussion about the move & changes to her lifestyle? Feeling the threat of loosing control of her life? Maybe some plain old talk-it-out with a counselor would be a place to start. Someone she can speak freely to, not worry about hurting anyone's feelings. Another big issue I've noticed is Inadiquite pain control, and there for Inadiquite sleep. If you hurt while you're trying to sleep, you're not sleeping well & you wake up feeling it... Tired and stresses. I don't want to go play when I'm tired & irritable either. Not trying to be sarcastic, I just know how she might be feeling. In any event, if it can be arranged she might vent to a neutral party. That might be a good place to start. Don't forget to take care of you too. Hope something helps!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Get a complete neuro-psych exam, her doctor can order it. Just throwing meds at the problem won't fix it.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

It sounds like the medication, and life stresses, are causing the nightmares. Troubled sleep is a common side effect. I would like for another doctor. He doesn't sound like he's doing her any good. Obviously, if she could go out and enjoy life, she would. That's it? That's his plan of care for her?
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.