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I have recently moved in to my mom’s home to care for her. She is 84 yo and has Alzheimer’s Disease. I am really concerned about how much she sleeps, she literally sleeps all day and all night. I’ve started wondering why I even get her up and dressed in the morning. I try and talk with her or get her to do things with me that she could maybe do like coloring or puzzles but she’s not interested in doing anything, she tells me she can’t do it without even trying. She doesn’t engage in life at all, it’s so very sad. I know it’s the Alzheimer’s but I feel like I can’t just let her waste away like this, it’s really stressing me out. I guess I feel like if I let her just sleep the way she does that it will contribute to her dying sooner or something...

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If she declined drastically almost overnight, I ageee with countrymouse, she needs to be seen by a doctor ASAP. This is not how dementia progresses, usually it’s such tiny steps that it’s barely noticeable, until you look back. She may have a UTI. She may have had a TIA, or mini stroke. I’d get her in to her normal doctor so it’s easily done, then look to add a geriatrician.
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If she has been functioning on her own until very recently I don't think her Alz (if that's what it is) can have reached the very advanced stage where this kind of apathy is to be expected. Unfortunately no matter which kind of dementia she has there is no magic bullet to bring back the spark in her life, although she might benefit from an antidepressant.
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River2jean, there has been a very abrupt and marked change in your mother's behaviour and this needs urgent review.

Take your mother to a geriatrician, or whatever they are called in your neck of the woods, for a thorough work-up. What you describe *sounds like* - please note that we are NOT medically qualified - a silent stroke and it is a bit horrifying that there hasn't been a more interested response from her doctor.

"Not many" medications - but what, and has her px been changed? In any case - if it were my mother I'd be making her an appointment as soon as the doctor's office opens.
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i think my Mom would sleep in bed all day too, but at the NH they don’t let residents do that unless they’re actually sick with a cold or something, even if the alternative is just napping in their wheelchair. Does she eat when you get her up for meals? Have you checked her medication for drowsiness or fatigue as a side effect? Could there be drug interactions that are zoning her out? Is she on any anti anxiety meds? Does she sleep good at night or is her sleep fitful? I think it’s a good idea to get people up out of bed to get their bowels and organs moving better and reduce the chance of pressure sores.
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river2jean Mar 1, 2019
Thank you for your reply. My mom’s overall health is good, it’s just her mind, she’s not on many medications and I’ve asked her doctor if any of those would contribute to her sleeping which he told me they would not. I don’t sleep in the same room with her but she seems to sleep well at night. I’ll check on her and she’s snoring a lot of the times...Her Alzheimer’s progressed very rapidly about two weeks ago, like overnight, it was shocking how different she was from one day to the next, and it left her having a lot of difficulty walking like, she no longer can walk by herself, it’s like her brain suddenly quit sending signals to her legs, she also has a lot more confusion now, and that was when this 24/7 sleeping began. I mean, it was a lot before but this is ALL THE TIME. I do get her up and in her wheelchair and to the table for every meal because I can’t stand watching her just lay there and sleep, her house has a covered concrete walkway all the way around it so I take her outside and show her the birds, or the pond, the clouds, as I push her around it but nothing interests her. All she’ll want to do is go back in and sit in that chair of hers and shut her eyes and disengage. I mean, I say she’s sleeping but I don’t even know, how could you sleep that much? Does her brain just turn off? I’m going to change doctor’s and find one that specializes in Alzheimer’s, get to the bottom of this before it drives me crazy. I appreciate every reply and have found a lot of helpful information on this site...I just stumbled on to it the other night and am so glad I did.
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I would have to agree with CM. This sounds more like Vascular Dementia. My mother has it and like you I have tried to get my mother to participate in some activity with no prevail. I have even set up our second story deck for her to sit outside in the warm weather. I cleaned up the backyard so once again it looks like a mini park with her foundition working; however she shows no interest in it. She too sleeps most of her days away, which makes sense because the heart is not beating enough to get the blood supply to her brain, which in turn, makes them feel sluggish and leaving them with no energy. Plus, because parts of their brain is in fact dying would make them not able to do the things that they once loved. There also may be an underlying of depression going on this is very common with Alz/dementia. I stop wasting my energy on a battle I can not win. And prehaps it is a battle that she can't or doesn't want to win. Remember her blood flow is not working correctly therefore her body is not getting the full O2 and the nutrition that it needs to keep moving. I notice when my mother does do a few things she is wiped-out and will sleep for hours if not days. I just let her sleep. However, she will have days where she is up for a good part of the day. I think this is all part of the disease.
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river2jean Mar 1, 2019
Vascular Dementia, could she have been misdiagnosed? You know, as I stated in my reply to rocketjcat, I’m changing doctors because I just haven’t felt so confident in the one she’s had. We live in a small town...she’s had the same doctor for years. He’s touted as an Alllzheimer’s specialist but I know his mother had it, is that why? Who knows. My mom’s husband, my stepfather, loved the man but my stepfather’s deceased now so there’s nothing keeping her there...time to move on. You also touched on something else “perhaps it’s a battle she doesn’t want to win” I’ve suspected this of my mother. My stepfather was a very mean, selfish and dominant man, my mom was basically his slave for 58 years, she didn’t even think for herself...he did her thinking and that’s not an exaggeration, you can see what an easy target she was for Alzheimer’s. But it’s left me wondering if she’s just done...you know?
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Her formal diagnosis is Alzheimer's Disease, is it? It's just that the extreme sleepiness and apathy remind me strongly of my mother, who had vascular dementia and quite a lot of phases like this, that's the only reason I ask.

The Best Practice Guidelines people will tell you that you should continue to encourage your mother with Activities of Daily Living; so it is correct to maintain as normal a routine as you can. The key word, though, is encourage - as opposed to force - and the thing to focus on is her wellbeing. If your mother is comfortable, not in pain, not frightened or sad, not apparently bored, you are doing well.

You say you have moved in only recently, which makes it difficult for you to judge; but would you say this amount of sleep is unusual and a change in her normal routine? In that case, it would be sensible to get her checked out by her doctor just to see if there is anything that needs addressing.

If you plan to be in this for the long haul, it is equally important that you take care of yourself, you know. Do you have support from family or a care team? Do you get enough downtime?
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