What could it mean when a loved one has more frequent, vivid, and unsettling dreams? - AgingCare.com

What could it mean when a loved one has more frequent, vivid, and unsettling dreams?

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My 86 year old Mom w/ dementia lives with me. Her dementia has mostly involved her disappearing memory within a sweet pleasant personality. She loves being around her family, and our friends. Lately she's been having lots of dreams that seem to awaken her with fear, anxiety, and worry. She jolts out of a nap, and calls out for her Mother. She looks panic stricken. She's called out for others, as well. She seems to generally have gone downhill a bit. Little things, like turning on a lamp, TV, etc. seem to be confusing her more than before. Could the dreams be a sign of anything? Has anyone experienced this?

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@MichiganOwl, @Etnies131, @Braida:
I suggest you try BrainGlucose on amazon.com for your moms.
It suppose eliminate nightmares by providing smooth blood glucose levels.
It will not have hang-over like clonazepam.
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My mother was diagnosed with mild vascular dementia 1 yr ago. She does ok, but occasionally has nightmares that are very real to her. She now sees people who are not there, only at night on waking, and argues with them. Really the people are just my poor dad. All of her dreams are about very bad childhood experiences. We do not have an answer yet from the doctor. Very frustrating. She is not medicated at all. She will not take the meds. I feel she needs a sleep aid or anxiety med at night. I hope one of us gets a concrete answer soon.
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My mother was diagnosed with mild vascular dementia 1 yr ago. She does ok, but occasionally has nightmares that are very real to her. She now sees people who are not there, only at night on waking, and argues with them. Really the people are just my poor dad. All of her dreams are about very bad childhood experiences. We do not have an answer yet from the doctor. Very frustrating. She is not medicated at all. She will not take the meds. I feel she needs a sleep aid or anxiety med at night. I hope one of us gets a concrete answer soon.
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I am 44 years old. Female. Cared for by my boyfriend whom I have known since age 3.
Story:
I have mild dementia caused by a TBI (drunk driver 4/2006.) Before the accident, I was a highly functioning, pharmacist. I lost 12 years of memory due to the accident. Age 34 at time of accident, so my reference point of memory is age 22. My memory drops information about every 2 days. Recently, I was evaluated by a neuropsychologist, orders of my neurologist. He agreed with the diagnosis of my neuropsychologist of 10 years. I also have occasional seizures. I have not had a seizure for a significant amount of time. I've had a sleeping disorder due to the TBI. I started having nightmares recently. They are terrifying. I have been observed while the nightmares (sleep studies.) I do not move. I wake up hot & scared. I feel I have to get out of bed, walk around my bed, realize that I am in the same environment & do not go back to sleep. I do remember the nightmares immediately. I know I had one two nights ago, but have no idea what it was about, Last night I remember well. Details are real events in my life prior to age 22, mixed with things I have only read in police reports post accident starting about 3 years after until the present.
I do realize that my and your mother's path and circumstances are very different, so I do not know if this is helpful. I will help in any way that I can.
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Uh, not "rear" REST tonight!
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Braida, sorry you had such a bad night, sounds exhausting. Is there a reason mom isn't taking med's for dementia?

Jeanne, thanks for the med tips. I have been on clonazepam for periodic alternate to ambien. It gives me an awful drug hangover. But I think klonopin is a BP med? She n I both have low BP. I use ambien ongoing, has that been used for ur DH? moms dr wanted to start w PT, to strengthen proximal weakness n improve fastinating gait. Mom has been pretty unwiling to cooperate, but has accepted some fall reduction environmental changes, n if I cajole often, does better getting 64 oz h2o daily. Thanks for the book reference. I believe I have delayed sleep phase D/O, sleep lab dr blamed on med's, but had symptoms since young child, long before ANY med's. Jeanne I hope u r hanging in there w ur husband, luv to you both, and Braida, welcome to AC. many great folks here. Let us kno how things r going, n hope u get some rear tonight. If u can get mom moving today, that may help. I also try to sit her in the sun some ea day, as well as open blinds after in bed to let light in room in am. Trying to keep her brain receiving reg day/night cueing, just in case it makes any difference. Best sleep pattern when we get her to walk ea day, but unwilling lately. Helps even if just a very short distance. Hugs to u both, and mom n DH, Kimbee
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Thank you for the answers. Last night was a terrible night, for the first time Mom was up, off and on, all night. She kept thinking it was time to get up (even got dressed once) and I had to get up and get her back to bed. She was really spacy, and couldn't imagine that it was only midnight, 2 AM, and 4AM! She's not on any meds at all for dementia or sleep disorder, but was diagnosed years ago with sleep apnea, and refuses to wear the mask. :( Now she would be too confused anyway, to cope with a mask. But I'm going to ask her Dr. about some of the meds you spoke about....Melatonin, Klonopin, Celexa. I haven't seen her thrash about or act like she's running from something, but she yells out and talks in her sleep frequently (as well as snoring and gasping at times) and she carries on short conversations w/ her dream people. I hope this Night Walking isn't a new thing coming on with her dementia. I can't function well when I don't get sleep. .
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Kimbee -- smart doctor to try only one thing at a time! Has your mother tried melatonin or Klonopin? The sleep problem associated with Lewy Body is Rem Behavior Disorder (RBD) and Klonopin is said to be effective 90% of the time for RBD. My husband had RBD many years before the Lewy Body Dementia appeared. Klonopin saved our marriage -- or at least saved us from sleeping in separate rooms! If your mother hasn't tried this, I'd ask her doctor about it.

Braida, the RBD dreams usually involve being chased, by animals or by bad guys. Each dream is different but they follow a really similar pattern. When we dream our bodies are temporarily "paralized." But in RBD this mechanism doesn't work, and the dreamer acts out the dream. Legs are running. Arms are striking out at the bad guys or animals. (Bed partners get hurt!) That's why I asked if you have observed your mom in ther sleep.

Other possibilities are sleep terrors or regular ol' nightmares. Sleep terrors are treatable.

There is a fascinating book about all kinds of sleep disorders. It is "Sleep" by Carlos H. Schenck.

If your mother's doctor isn't familiar with sleep disorders and how to treat them, it might be worth asking for a referral to a sleep specialist, especially if these episodes are particularly disturbing to Mother.
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Hi Braida, my mom, mid stage dementia, has these also. I believe she has Lewy Body type dementia. Her Exelon Patch had been applied at night, I changed it to am w some improvement, (but not resolution). We also moved Celexa from am to pm dosing with more improvement, again, not resolved, but some better. We change only one thing at a time so we can see the impact. My mom also moves her limbs n body in her sleep. Sometimes she gets up at night n seems to be asleep, or having weird delusions, not sure which it is. She frequently wakes up frightened. Often hollers in her sleep, or calls for me or her mom.
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Do you ever observe her sleeping? Does she seem to act out her dreams, flinging her arms, "running" with her legs?
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