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Mom, 92, has vascular dementia, on the whole is pretty good, some mild occasional confusion but nothing alarming. She has been sleeping through the night until three nights ago. She started talking to people who she was seeing in her room, getting out of bed and walking around, and was very disoriented in the morning, didn't know me or family relationships. It sort of cleared up during the day, but that evening she "saw" people sitting on her couch. The past few nights she's been awake (?) for several hours talking to people she sees, and sometimes it is frightening to her (she thought a man was trying to hurt her last night). I turn the lights on and try to reorient her, and it works briefly but then the talking starts up again. Her eyes are open and she seems to be looking at whomever she is talking to. She remembers this in the morning and thinks things really happened. The visiting nurse says she is sundowning. I've read what I can about it, and have a few questions. Is this going to be a permanent thing? Does it come and go, or do I have middle of the night sleep interruptions to look forward to indefinitely? I didn't see anything where medications would help with this, is this true? Anybody have experience with this?

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My husband's dad swore there was a cat under his dresser. We watched as he got on his knees, took drawers out, look behind and under it, and knew it wasn't there. He also saw spiders on the ceiling, and piles of ants that dissapear when he tried to pick them up. He thought people were living in the attic. He has Vascular Dementia, too. I don't think he's taking any medications for it, but he hasn't done that for awhile. It was a nighttime only problem, as he was seeing things and hearing things in the daytime, too.

My dad has Lewy Bodies type Dementia (Advanced Stage Alzheimer's). He hallucinated, and would wake and write it down. The two dads were roommates, till my dad's aggression ran my FIL off. My dad is taking tons of meds to control that. Ativan, Depakote, and Celexa. They seem to help. They are constantly readjusting the dosage. And he is constantly changing from one stage in his illness to another.

Dementia makes for a strange world for our loved ones. Mine is fading away, and FIL is hit and miss. They say it's different for everyone. It's different, alright. More like strange. Pretty sad, sometimes, too. How can we help? Consistent love. What else can we do?

I've seen sundowners; people wander, get agitated, and mumble. They sometimes pray repetitively, try to escape, or do other odd behaviors. You asked an interesting question. I hear staff at the dad's nursing home comment about the "full moon tonight" phenomenon. All I know, is that life is strange when dementia is present. Sometimes you just roll with it, redirect, and do the best we can. Is your dad on some type of medication already? Has he had a geriatric assessment, with a team of physician, social worker and pharmacist. We have tried that, and they seem to know their stuff. Maybe they can help in your situation. Best wishes.
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