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Dad is now 80, still lives alone and has taken to calling us in the night. Often asking where I am or what's happening next. Last night he rang at 4:00am (Uk time) wide awake wanting to know when I was coming over. I am finding this new stage hard. My husband has to get up early for work, we have school age kids and to honest I'm exhausted. What stage of dementia is confusion of day and night? He does not seem to know how to rest or sleep at night and how can we or he function with his confusion and restlessnes? Feel alone, no sibling help or other family friends support. Apologies for the rant but any advise greatly appreciated.

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This was the time MIL was put into memory care and her phone was taken away. She was allowed to use the phone in the central area with their permission. There are staff who are awake at night to distract. However, if he gets agitated, then expect a visit to a geriatric neurologist for calming medications. Realize this can go on for years and get worse. MIL lived for another 10 years.
Same with my mom when she got worse. Eight years in MC at 97
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Reply to MACinCT
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Your dad can't be living alone anymore. Either move in some 24 hour help to live there or find an assisted living community for him to go to.
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Reply to BurntCaregiver
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Star, you say that your father ‘is totally adverse to a care home of any type’. Well aren’t they all? It’s not attractive for anyone, in spite of the fact that some people find they enjoy it – particularly in AL.

Your father’s preferences won’t change until they have to, and that won’t be while you continue enough support for him to keep thinking that he is independent. Don’t wait until you break down. Put your husband and children first.

Perhaps you can work out what you can stop doing that will be unpleasant for him but not truly unsafe. You need him to realise that you are at the end of the care road, for his sake, yours, your husband and your children. He will never want it to happen!
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Reply to MargaretMcKen
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Confusing day and night is common in more advanced stages of Alzheimer's disease. My father-in-law had that problem and it kept my mother-in-law worried and very tired. Unfortunately, he passed away before we could address the issue.

However as an RN, I do have a few suggestions. Make sure dad doesn't take long or frequent naps during the day. If he does, he gets his sleep needs met during the day and is awake at night. Make sure he has an evening routine that helps him to settle down in the evening: no technology at least 2 hours before bedtime, no stimulants like caffeine in the afternoon or evening, and keep to same routine like evening hygiene, changing into night clothes, reading or listening to soft music before bedtime. If these don't help, talk to his doctor about prescription for a mild sedative (I have used Benadryl for that purpose). It might be a good idea for him to have somebody with him - home health aides - round the clock. My mother-in-law with Alzheimer's disease does very well with 2 caregivers that care for her in her condo. If you can not afford home health aides, it may be time to investigate placing dad into a memory care unit.
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Reply to Taarna
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I went thru this with Mom. Late evening calls panicking about something unimportant or imaginary. I would dread seeing her name on the caller ID knowing I was in for an hour spent calming her down. I didn’t want to ignore the call, what if it was a real emergency?

Once she was in AL I still got calls, signs of her dementia increasing. It got so I couldn’t go to bed without making sure my phone was charged and by the bed just waiting for a call.
I still got calls from the nurses or aides, sometimes alerting me to falls or trips to the ER.

You should research Sundowner Syndrome and look for suggestions on helping your dad with solutions. This seems to be a physical change to the elderly where their brain loses the ability to tell the time of day. There are lots of ideas to help adjust their systems to changes in daylight. Like dimming lamps in the evening, use of TVs and screens, even glasses that change the color of light. It might help to explain these changes to Your Dad to help him recognize the problems.

One thing that seemed to help with Mom was for me to call her early each evening for a brief chat and to say goodnight which seemed to reassure her.
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Reply to Frances73
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Thank you for all your replies so far. Due to holidays nothing will happen that quickly as we are having to wait 2 weeks to get blood tests done. He is totally adverse to a care home of any type and this covid business just makes everything about living so hard. The problem is that I think I have reached carer fatigue or breakdown. Two weeks ago I reached crisis point with him and got emergency short term carers in. Problem is he managed to persuade them everything was fine, clearly it was not. Why does life have to be so sad and soul destroying?
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Reply to Star77
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The calls are an indication that your Dad needs more care.

Turning off the phone might work at your end, but he needs more care than you can now provide. He should not be living alone at this time.

When this happened to us, there were 15-30 calls some nights. There was confusion (could not understand him); and inability to get out of bed due to Parkinson's. Helping this elder was delayed because later in the day he would be walking with his walker down the street. When his sons and daughters saw him, they were unaware of his deep suffering and times of 'freezing up', unable to help himself. He would be calling other people too.
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Reply to Sendhelp
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Turning the ringer off your phone at night will keep you asleep, but it won't solve the issue your father is facing. And that is, he's alone and living with dementia, not knowing WHAT is going on and making calls in the middle of the night to find out.

Dementia is very serious. Your father needs attention and placement in a Memory Care facility or the like, as soon as possible, before he wanders out of his home in the middle of the night and gets seriously hurt.

If you have siblings who live nearby, they need to get involved to place their father. Otherwise, you need to make arrangements to fly here to help him out. It's just too dangerous for a man in his condition to be living alone!!

Wishing you the best of luck getting your dad the help he now needs.
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Reply to lealonnie1
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I think its time for Dad to be placed somewhere. If not a UTI, like said, his Dementia is progressing and being alone is not safe for him. My Mom was up about 3am every night just about. I would show her that it was still dark outside. She would go back to bed and sleep till 8 or 9.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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Dementia can cause a person to be confused about day and night. If this is a recent change in behavior it could indicate an advancement of the disease. Does he call at other early morning hours like 2 or 3 AM. or it usually 4 or 5? If it's 4 or 5 it's possible that it has become his normal waking time rather than confusion about night and day. As suggested, you could either turn your phone off until you normally awaken or block the number until morning and call him at your convenience.

If you're interested in dementia stages Google “FAST stages”.
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Reply to sjplegacy
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Agree with Barb, is this a temporary thing like UTI? Good to check that out. Or a permanent new phase that may indicate he is no longer safe alone at night?

The calls I got at night were not frequent at all but enough to make my heart race into near panic, then the getting dressed, driving over there half asleep to deal with whatever. Now I have my phone on silent from 10pm to 7am & have peace. My relative presses her falls alert button instead & anything else must wait until daytime.

So if me, I'd be worried of not answering the phone, in case he has fallen. Or that if he couldn't reach you he may leave his home to look for you.

Sorry I can't offer any help but I do empathise.
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Reply to Beatty
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Turn off your phone at night
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Reply to ZippyZee
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If this is a sudden change in his mental status, your first call should be to his doctor to rule out a UTI.

It sounds like he needs to be someplace where there is round the clock staff, like an Assisted Living facility. Have you looked into those?

I would turn the ringer on my phone off at night.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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