One of the scariest situations with Alzheimer’s is wandering. Even with constant monitoring, a senior can slip out unnoticed while you take a phone call, go to the bathroom, or sleep at night.
Nighttime is an issue in itself. Your body needs sleep. You don’t wake up. On the other hand, your parent sleeps sporadically and gets up multiple times in the night. When your mom or dad is up, wandering aimlessly seems to be the norm.
If your parent gets outside at night, it may be hard for your mom or dad to get back home. If you’re asleep, it may be hours before you know your parent is missing. This is why it’s important to help your parent sleep through the night. You should pair that with precautions that keep your parent from getting outside.
Why Are Sleeping Patterns Such a Problem With Alzheimer’s?
Alzheimer’s leads to the shrinkage of brain tissue. Some of those neurons send the messages that help your body fall asleep and know when it’s time to wake up. Insomnia, excessive sleepiness, and nighttime wandering are all risks.
The disease seems to impact the body’s circadian rhythms. These are the natural cycles within your body that regulate sleep patterns, metabolism, and body temperature.
You may find your parent has a harder time in certain seasons. As days shorten and it starts to get dark by 4 p.m., your mom or dad can’t tell what time it is and want to go to bed far too early. Agitation may set in with the sunset.
Tips for Helping Your Parent Sleep Through the Night.
One of the best ways to get your mom or dad to sleep through the night is to wear them out during the day. Don’t let your parent nap if possible. Lots of activity will prevent napping.
Set a routine. Don’t let your parent have a sugary or caffeinated beverage within a few hours of bedtime. Switch to water, herbal tea, or seltzer. Cut all liquids a couple of hours before bedtime to keep them from having to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
Eat dinner long before it’s bedtime. If your parent eats and goes right to bed, the risk of heartburn may be higher and keep your mom or dad awake.
If there’s the chance traffic noise may wake your parent up, make sure there is white noise running all night. A fan or white noise machine works well.
Talk to your parent’s doctor for advice. Some may recommend natural remedies like melatonin supplements.
When your mom or dad progresses to the point wandering is a potential risk, you need around-the-clock care. You need help. Learn more about the benefits of home care. You can provide your parent’s Alzheimer’s care, but you’ll need help.