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She still drives and can carry on a reasonable conversation but when she sits down, particularly in a comfortable chair (or on the sofa) she falls asleep and falls over. This happens all the time. She lives alone and we are concerned about her when no one is there with her. She has a pacemaker.

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I agree with AginginPlace. She should not be driving. There could be a problem with her Pacemaker.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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There could be lots of things causing the sleeping. Mine was sleep apnea and a CPAP has helped tremendously. Your mom needs a thorough exam, discounting all the possibilities. A sleep study can be very expensive and I don't know how much Medicare covers. Even if she does have apnea, if she has some cognitive challenges then learning new equipment, technology and routines can be very challenging at her age. My mom has always snored and now at almost 91 she falls asleep very easily in her recliner and it drives her nuts but she steadfastly refuses to get tested for apnea. I hope your mom finds an answer that leads to a simple solution!
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Reply to Geaton777
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When was the last time that she saw her cardiologist?

My dad had this going on and it was because he had so much water retention and his generator was running down.

I would get her to her cardiologist and tell them that you want her hardware checked. Be sure and tell them that she is falling asleep and falling over everytime she sits down, this should get her seen quickly.

Best of luck, it is scary to see this happen.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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I'm wondering if she may have an underlying diagnosis of narcolepsy (a condition where the brain just simply falls asleep w/o reason) or sleep apnea (the person stops breathing several times during the night which decreases the amount of oxygen they take in and leaves them very tired in the daytime). Both of these conditions are very serious for a person who is still driving and both of these conditions can be treated with medication and/or a special machine (CPAP) that a person with sleep apnea applies at night so they don't stop breathing. If you want to kill 2 birds with 1 stone, I'd suggest a consultation with a pulmonologist. Many will diagnose and treat both conditions. A neurologist will treat both conditions as well but I went to a neurologist first and then switched because I felt the pulmonologist was considerably more knowledgeable about BOTH conditions, however, it could have been just the individual physicians. It is likely that your mom will need to have a sleep study. That would be a good place to start. I don't believe it is her pacemaker that is causing the problem but she should see a cardiologist every 6-12 months anyway and they should be doing pacemaker checks over the phone on a monthly basis. I'd suggest that your mother NOT DRIVE until the underlying issue has been found for her excessive sleepiness. If not just to keep her from being injured in a MVA, but also to keep her from possibly seriously or fatally injuring another motorist and having to live with that for the rest of her life.
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Reply to AginginPLaceLLC
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Isthisrealyreal Apr 26, 2020
Ap, not all pacemakers can be checked remotely.

She should see her cardiologist as often as they recommend.
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I totally understand, as I can easily fall asleep on the sofa watching TV after I get home from work. My concern with her is that she does this at all hours, anytime, of the day. With no one actually being with her at night, we're not sure how much sleep she's actually getting at night and if she's possibly making up for it in the day. The chair she has fallen out of is an upholstered recliner but most likely not in the recline position. She tells us about this after the fact because she is alone when it happens but she would have to fall forward because she has shown us the bump on her forehead where she hit the carpet. Perhaps a sleep-balance issue is the problem. This is our first indication of her actually falling out of her chair although we have seen her fall asleep at any given time in various locations for several months. She keeps her regular appointments with her doctors but we are thinking it's time possibly a family member mentioned it to her doctor as she is not always clear in her communications with her doctors; she thinks she is, but it usually proves out that she was not and one of her children will have to go with her in order to have a good understanding of her diagnosis. Our initial quest in posting this question was to try to determine if this is a normal symptom of a typical aging situation or if there could possibly be a medical issue that needs to be addressed.
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Reply to GTess10
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GTess10, at 85 years old, your Mom has lived a very long life, and she is tired. Heck, whenever I curl up in front of the TV, especially right after eating, I am out like a light for a half hour or more. My sig other does the same thing. We both are in our mid-70's. Your turn will come :)

Now, I am concerned about your Mom falling actually out of a chair. My Mom would doze off in her wing back chair and lean to either side, but the wings and arms on the chair would catch her.

Thus, if you Mom is sitting in a chair with no arms, I would move that chair elsewhere to be safe.

You may also want a make an appointment with your Mom's primary doctor to see if there is a sleep-balance issue.

Let us know what you find out.
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Reply to freqflyer
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