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Mom has been getting up several times at night to go pee but she barely goes at all. She has end stage rheumatoid arthritis plus mild to moderate dementia. She needs help with everything since she barely has any strength left. This leaves us caregivers very exhausted. I think she might be anxious about wetting the bed as she did once so she gets up every time she feels anything. She wont' wear depends and my dad wants to get her a sedative so she just sleeps better and wont' have to keep getting up. I've read that sedatives in the elderly are kind of hit and miss and they often have adverse side effects. Has anyone had experience with any particular one? Thanks.

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I wouldn't try a sedative without medical approval. You all need some sleep, so please ask the doctor. Elders often have very sensitive bladders. My mom would "have to go" constantly, and there was very little urine each time. But the pressure made her feel like she had to go. If someone could talk her into depends at night so you could all relax, that would be good. Could her doctor approach her with a "do this for your family" approach?
RA is so painful - it would help her if she didn't have to get up so often. But she likely wakes up from pain, as well as the feeling of a full bladder. Please do talk with her doctor - and give him or her all of the facts.
Carol
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Hi,
does your mom have a bedside commode in her room? Why back when mom was still aware the need to go to the bathroom she would be up and down during the night. I bought a potty chair and placed it right beside the bed. It did help with the getting up and down. I guess it was a security to know that it was right there beside bed if she had to go instead of going down the hall to the bathroom and the fear of not making it in time.
I am not a fan of sleep aids, but I did try some OTC. Oh my... it made my mom ballistic, and she began to sleep walk. With the dementia, sleep walking is totally not safe. So, we discontinued that.
Does your mother take Namenda? I was told by a doctor that Namenda can cause restlessness in some who take it at bedtime. So I started giving it to mom at supper, I did notice slight improvement during the night. Maybe ask the doctor if any of her meds could have adverse reaction and make her restless. If so, just give them to her earlier in the evening.
With the depends thing. When I first introduced the thought my mom was floored. So, I would take the depends and put them on the inside of the underpants and pull them up at the same time. I felt bad tricking her. But it work also. Mom eventually got used to them and I no longer had to disguise them inside her underwear.
Hope some of my suggestion might help! Its all trial and error.
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We did get med. approval from her primary care. The first one Rozerem, made her hallucinate, the next night . 5 of Ativan had her totally giddy and singing. She had an appt. with her neurologist next day and he was horrified the p.d had given her these things. Tried to explain that when we can't ever get ahold of him, this was the second time we'd even seen him and didn't know what to do he calmed down. He said he'd be in charge of neurological drugs; ok great now we know what to do. He prescribed something for bladder spams and said to tough it out it'll get better. I sure hope so cause it's exhausting. We've tried the depends thing and she cried and was humiliated. I got her to wear an incontinence pad and encouraged her to just relax and if a few dribbles came out the pad would catch it, etc. She only has mild dementia and I understand as it's very hard for anyone to just let it fly when you're used to getting up to go pee. She says she has no pain just the discomfort of not being able to move. Good idea of trying to have her doc. convince her. Hadn't thought of that. She really wants to make things easier for us but it's so hard feeling constantly fatigued that it seems that she just shuts down her mind so she can keep living sometimes. Karen
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My Mom's has mild to severe dementia and her doc prescribed a low dose of ambien and xanax as needed. Mom has been taking these medications for over a year now with no adverse reactions. As far as the depends, I just introduced them to her without saying anything. I help her with her bath, so instead of getting out the underwear I got out the depends and she was fine. I told her that I realized she probably won't need them, but better to not need them, then to need them and not have them on....she was good with that logic. I also have a bedside commode for Mom and that seemed to ease her fear of not being able to make it to the bathroom.
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Yes, she does have a commode in her room. The problem being that she is too weak to get out of bed to use it and needs help getting up and back into bed. She just started taking Vesicare-bladder spasms- but I think it takes about 6 weeks to work. She doesn't take Namenda. She has an Excelon patch. Her dementia isn't near bad enough to be tricked. I was going to lay by her tonight and wear a poise pad and pee in it just to show her how it's done but my sister, after getting up every 15 min last night, contacted a caregiver who can come and do night duty. Mom cried and didn't like it but it was the only solution cause none of us are super human. I told her that we loved her very much and it wasn't her that was the problem, it was her bladder. Thanks for the feed back.
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When my husband first developed dementia he was in and out of bed 4 to 7 times each night. In his case he could get up by himself, but his actions were unpredictable and he could be a danger to himself. Someone had to get up with him. It got to the point where we were both zombies, without getting enough sleep. Not a good or safe situation, so I know what a toll this can take on the caregiver. I knew I could not keep him at home if this problem was not solved. He now takes a drug prescribed by a sleep specialist and approved by his neurologist. It has worked great for 7+ years. A night caregiver is a good solution, too. Maybe it won't be necessary after the bladder meds start working. Good luck!
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Oh, I just noticed the full title on your question. How are nightmares related to her getting up to pee? Is that what wakes her up in the first place, do you think?
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KAREN:

As Lilliput suggested, I'd give natural remedies a shot. Also, see what you can do to put her on a schedule complete with activities so she can burn any excess energy and still go to bed at a pre-set hour.

Doctors don't always know better. Some sleep aids can put a person in such a deep state of sleep that next day s/he's wondering if those dreams actually happened. If the individual suffers from dementia dreams/hallucinations might become his/her reality.

A seemingly "harmless" pill designed to help the person relax can easily turn into Nightmare on Elm Street. The individual might be afraid to go to sleep, begin to entertain the idea you're trying to kill him/her, or both.

Still, consult with her doctor before you try anything.

-- Ed
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I don't know how the nightmares part got on there cause my original question just asked about sleep aids for elderly people. Hmmm computers are mysterious creatures. No, she doesn't suffer from nightmares. She did hallucinate when she took rozeram and was giddy and singing on .5 of ativan. Neurologist said no way on anything of that nature, but he only offered a bladder spasm med that might work in about 6 weeks. She's not incontinent but I think her bladder spasms and she's afraid of peeing the bed, even though she now wears a poise pad and we've tried to tell her to just whizz in it if she feels the need, but she can't or won't. Her dementia is only mild/moderate but her body weakness is something altogether different. The rheumatologist says it's not active arthritis, that she just has "old" arthritis. We saw her just a few days ago and she is totally puzzled as is her primary doc. The RA doc. is the only one so far who has showed an interest in finding out what exactly is causing her decline in body. On paper she is in excellent health, in appearance she is nearly on death's door. She recommended going to OHSU, a teaching hosp. in Portland, Or, an hour away from us. Mom wants to go but it will be very exhausting for her if there are many appts, tests, etc. I just don't know how her body will hold up to it but we have to try if she is willing. As far as the nighttime getting up, jeanngibbs, can you tell me the name of the drug that has worked for your husband or is that not kosher on this site? I really appreciate the feedback I'm getting from all of you, makes me feel more in control of the situation. It really is a comfort to know that so many of you have. and are experiencing the same things my family is right now. thanks again!
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Once again, i don't know how the nightmares part got into my original question because there have been no nightmares involved. How do I change that in the question or is it struck there for good? I'm in total agreement with natural remedies. Valerian, etc. I need to ok with her neurologist as he flipped as he flipped his lid when he found out we'd tried her on some nighttime sleep aids. We noticed also that "harmless" sleep aids had a very adverse effect on her. So odd how the elderly brain operates so diff. from a normal adult. Maybe less neurotransmitters to work on or something with the natural shrinkage and vessel changes of older people. We've been trying the evening activity thing followed by some relaxing techniques but so far no luck. Her getting up is so random, one night it's every 15 min the next night only 6. I wonder if it's anxiety or just old age brain.
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