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My 87 year old mother has been living with me for a year now. I placed a baby monitor in her room because she has fallen off her bed a couple of times. So with the baby monitor I hear everything. Lately she has been talking all night long. She gets out of bed and I think she is sleep walking because she doesn't know where she is at. Is this normal?


My mother was diagnosed with mild dementia, possibly Alzheimer. We are waiting to do more test.


Any ideas?


I want to thank you for everything you are doing for your parents. God Bless you!

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It is interesting to note, that the first person that was considered to have Alzheimer's, was institutionalized by her husband due to to her night time wandering and crying out. (This was Auguste Deter) She was seen by Dr, Alois Alzheimer @ The Institution for the Mentally Ill in Frankfort, Germany in 1901. After her death in 1906, Dr. Alzheimer examined her brain and fund those plaques and tangles.
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Reply to drooney
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My Dad wandered a lot at night. When he went out and walked the streets and was nearly hit by a vehicle, the nurses hid his shoes. He'd wander around the facility looking for them. Then, when he had to go out for a doc appt., they'd miraculously find them for him. It kept him off the streets at least and busy during the day.
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Reply to sometimer
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My Mom had lewy body and she was the same. Meds helped. Is she talking to someone else or talking to herself? My Mom would hallucinate and talk to people who weren't there.
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Reply to Isabelsdaughter
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Mamacare Jul 5, 2019
HI! My mom seems to be talking to someone. She was singing to someone the other night. My siblings think it cute but I'm not getting any sleep because I have to listen to make sure she doesnt try to leave.
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Has she started on any new medications. Four years ago my dad not only was walking around dreaming, and talking, he lost the use of his lower legs. The thought was he had a stroke. Thanks to a visiting physical therapist, it turns out his sleep medication, Ambien, was devastating him. Once taken off that all returned to normal. He is now 99. He takes 10 mg of Melatonin and sleeps well. However too much Melatonin , over that amount will also cause talking in his sleep. First check her medications, if any recent change, that could be the problem. Keep her sway from evening coffee. Make sure there a bed guard rais for her. If there is no explanation for this, it will probably worsen. Try to take a video of her on her minight strolls and show her doctor.
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Reply to doctorno
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I have a daughter who is inclined to sleepwalk when she is coming down with something. Rule out a UTI or other infection first.
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Reply to lynina2
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mamacare,
A baby monitor is great to have, I had to get a bed/chair alarm as well. Not only is it certain to wake me, but the sound is enough to startle my mom and stop her in her tracks.
After researching any meds your mom may be on(it's very
rare for there to be any interactions), try GABA
Good luck.
This is all difficult; doing it while sleep deprived, is excruciating.
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Reply to EnduringLife
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My husband did the same thing. He is 83 and start wondering at night . I was up all night with him. I decided to stop his medication aryacept. Now I give him 2 Tylenol PM at night. He stopped the night walking and gets up only to go to the bathroom. Sleep's late in the morning. Doctor said it could be the side affects of the medication. Hope you can find solution. I know-how taxing it can be up all night with a lo
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Reply to Maggiesue37
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My mom started doing this intermittently a few years ago, and after she moved to assisted living it really became dominant. She is very “active” while sleeping...talking, moving around in bed, crying, etc. when she wakes up she is totally in whatever dream she’s having.

She has been diagnosed with Lewy Body dementia, which is very sleep disruptive. Here’s some info if you’d like to check against other symptoms: https://www.lbda.org/

So we now have nighttime caregivers to watch. And feel fortunate to have the resources to do that.

Best of luck to you and your mom.
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Reply to DCisMe
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My mom would get particularly active when she had a UTI. I would have her tested for this so an antibiotic could be given in case of infection and to rule this out.
My MIL told us she wanders sometimes at night and one morning she went into the kitchen and discovered she must have gotten up and eaten. It scared her. She had taken Ambien the night before, so now she doesn't take it anymore. As another poster said, people have sleep walked on Ambien and never knew it. I won't take this, use Melatonin instead if I need.
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Reply to Katie22
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I don't know if she will get worse or not, maybe talk with her dr.
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Reply to Cindy1123
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I used to be a home health aide, stayed at night a lot with people. Yes, it happened a lot especially if they have dementia or alhemizers. It is called sundowners and can happen all night. I had a couple of ladies who would snooze in their chair all day, but as soon as evening came around they was up and ready to go. One lady would go through her closets and another would pack clothes in a shopping bag to be ready to leave when the people that lived in the house came home and found her there. I had one lady that we had to watch close, she would wonder around outside in the middle of the night. I don't know why this happens, I am no expert but seen it a lot
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Reply to Cindy1123
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Mamacare Jul 1, 2019
HI Cindy,

Thank you for your response. I'm glad to hear its "normal". These actions are like 3 days old, so I didnt know if it's ok. I'm only wondering if she is going to get worse? Should I wake her up from it?

Thank you
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My mother, nearly 93, is up A LOT at night. She doesn't really sleepwalk; she seems to be aware of what she is doing. We learned about this from cameras. The facility knows about them, and she knows about them. We have been extremely surprised at how active she is at night. It's said to be Sundowner's, but I always thought that syndrome is the waning of mental capability in the late afternoon and into the evening. I had no idea it could go on all night.

She has fallen repeatedly in her nighttime roaming in her apartment. Since the staff doesn't do checks nearly as much as the facility advertised, my sister (who is local) thought cameras advisable. Indeed, my sister alerted the facility to most of Mom's falls.

She has talked to herself, but she does that anytime.

She only takes warfarin and citalopram, and these are not thought to cause nighttime wakefulness. I really don't get why she must get up at night. She even changes into her street clothes. Sometimes it seems to be confusion as to time. A few nights ago, she was being particularly vigorous, shall we say, so my sister called her and asked, "Why did you get up?" and Mom answered in a loud, annoyed tone, "Because I wanted to!"

My own thinking is that she has an overly active brain (highly anxious), and just HAS to get up and check things out. She also told my sister she didn't want to die in her PJ's!

I'm not sure there's anything that can be done except try to keep them safe. We have largely succeeded in getting Mom trained to use that walker all the time, even at night. So, no falls for several weeks now.
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Reply to ParentingTheOld
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disgustedtoo Jul 5, 2019
"Sundowner's, but I always thought that syndrome is the waning of mental capability in the late afternoon and into the evening. I had no idea it could go on all night."

It is called that because in general most people who suffer from this DO seem to have it occur in that time period. The timing and symptoms can vary from one person to another. When I forwarded an article about sun-downing, one brother only looked at the title of the link (it referred to sleep disorders) and he said she doesn't have a sleep problem. ARGH, the dummy! I just replied read the article!!

So, in mom's case, she was living alone at the time and we had installed some cameras to monitor who was coming/going and to "see" her daily to ensure all was well (the closest any of us were was about 1.5 hour, so we couldn't check daily.) Anyway, the time mom started her "routine" coincided with bed-time, which could vary a bit, but generally not earlier than 9-930PM. It started out a night here and there, a few iterations, no big deal. This developed into a nightly marathon, at least an hour, usually an hour and a half of checking the door lock, the sidelights, something in the kitchen that we couldn't see on camera, something in the LR we also couldn't see, but the "pass through" opening between the dining area and kitchen let the light shine through when she turned the light on/off. Eventually when one brother was there we found out the kitchen trip was to check the dishwasher. She would do this over and over and OVER for the entire hour to hour and a half! That brother tried calling her to stop her - I tried to tell him that she isn't even aware she is doing this, so your call isn't going to do anything! Sure enough, she would tell him she's just about to go to bed and instead there would be several more trips. Another time she told him he got her out of bed (which wasn't true - we had camera proof!)

So, this clearly was not a late afternoon or early evening issue, and she wasn't out of control like some people experience, it was just an odd OCD behavior. The list of possible symptoms don't seem to include anything like this, but there was no other explanation for it.

They DO however mention having a UTI or other infection being a possible trigger for sun-downing as well. When I first read about that, I was skeptical, however mom got a UTI when at the MC place and was out of control later afternoon, early evening!! Of course she got this on a Friday night, so no access to doc, tests or meds until Monday, and even then she needed the Lorazepam almost the whole week of treatment to keep her calm later in the day... we have it on hand, just in case. She does not get that every day.
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Neither of you mentions whether or not your mom’s are on any sleep meds, but my doctor will no longer prescribe Ambien for me because she says it’s proven to cause sleepwalking and even sleep driving in some people. In older people, it can cause falls because of this.
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Reply to Ahmijoy
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Mamacare Jul 1, 2019
HI, my mother isn't taking any sleep medication. She is on anti-depresson medication but does not help her sleep.
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Hi, Your question is exactly what's happening with my mother & I....so of course I don't know the answer....but I have a baby monitor in my 99 yr. old mother's room & she does the same thing. When I go in to help her or find out what's she's doing....she really doesn't know what's going on either. I'm interested in the comments from this question also. There seems to be so many similar things going on with lots of other caregivers. Bless you & your mother.
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