Mom will be 85 and has dementia. Both my husband and I stay with her and go home every other weekend to get some rest. Like clock work everynight at 12:00 a.m. the madness begins. She is up calling my name so I get up and go to her room. She wanders downstairs or wanders through out the other bedroom. I try to keep her awake throughout the day, and take her with me to run errands, hoping she will be tired and sleep throughout the night, and she still wakes up! I have also started giving her melotonin 5mg, however there is no change in her sleeping habits. Both my husband and I have to bring her back to bed multiple times through out the night. By the time we need to get up to go to work we are both exhausted. ... I have thought of asking the doctor for something to help her sleep, only it worries me that she will be groggy when going to the bathroom and may fall. She also has stairs in her home and the bedrooms are upstairs. Appreciate your thoughts or experience with this issue. Thank you.

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There are other options besides the traditional "sleeping pills" that you are worried about - medications to treat her dementia may also help her sleep. Something that worked for us was the antidepressant mirtazapine , not only did my mom sleep better but she was more like herself during the day (and the side effect of increased appetite was a plus too). You need a doctor who is experienced with dementia and is willing to experiment a little and prescribe off label if necessary.
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There are a few issues here that need to be dealt with, not just Mom’s nocturnal roaming. Other than Melatonin, the efficacy of which is unpredictable at best, there is not much you can, nor should you give her to induce sleep. Some will suggest herbal sleep remedies, but these can have undesirable reactions with prescribed medications. Take any suggestions you receive here, although undoubtedly given with the best intentions, to her doctor for approval. Best bet would be to call the doctor for suggestions. We don’t know her health, her medications or anything else about her the way her own doctor does. This is the person you need to ask for advice.

Your situation sounds very difficult for you. Did you, by chance, make what I call the “Noble Promise” to never place her in a facility no matter what? I understand. However, you know you are endangering her safety and your own health to keep this promise. Her home sounds less than safe for her. You are exhausted and may not be as alert as you need to be to care for her. Your work lives may be impacted as well and depending in your jobs, you could also be impacting others by your exhaustion. Her situation could last for a while if she is otherwise healthy. It may be time to explore other alternatives. Perhaps when you ask her doctor about a sleep remedy, you could also ask for advice on making your lives a little easier. Just a thought.
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