Learning Points…

As my mother has been transported from the hospital to a skilled nursing facility, dementia continues to rear its ugly head. The latest is living in her dreams. She calls me during the evening wanting me to come and get her. She comes up with what at first I thought was just crazy thoughts, and I couldn’t figure them out: she told me she was with the funeral director, or at a friend’s house, all the while she was at the nursing facility. She called me begging me to get her, and when I told her she was at the facility, she said she would just walk home since I wasn’t going to help her.

The next day I told her what happened. When I described what she told me, first I noticed she didn’t even remember doing that. But she did remember the dream she had, and it matched what I described she had told me when she called begging me to bring her home(which was about 1am in the morning). We laughed it off, but at least I realized what was going on. When I got home, I did some research about dementia and vivid dreams, and then it made sense.

Learning Points…

For years my mother has told me she has had vivid dreams since she was a child, and the dreams seemed so real it was hard to “come out of them”.  When we lived together years ago, I would hear her talking in her sleep. I wanted to wake her, but didn’t. Eventually the talking and (what appeared to be) crying sounds would stop. Here we are years later.  From the research, there is a correlation between the elderly who have dementia and vivid dreams. Many cannot tell the difference between dreams and reality, particularly as they are ‘sundowning’, described as when the sun goes down those with dementia have a change of behavior, and not a positive one. When there is daylight, my mother for the most part is okay. I visited with her recently, and left her as she was eating her lunch, with her telling me she would take a nap after eating. Once I got home, it didn’t take long that afternoon for het to call me begging me to come and get her; I knew she had awakened from a dream and was living it. This dream was about her being at her friend’s home and everyone had left, and I needed to come and get her. My trying to tell her she is living what she just dreamed didn’t help. My telling her she was at the nursing facility didn’t help either. She believed she was at her friend’s house; her dream was presently her reality. At least I only got one phone call, and at least for that evening, I did not receive any other calls.

If there are caregivers who are experiencing this (and you want to get sleep), and your loved one is not living with you, I can only tell you what is working for me. I turn off my cell phone after 8pm. I allow any messages to go to voice mail after 8pm. I have talked to the staff at the nursing facility about what is going on. I typed a list about where my mother is, why she is there, and meals will be provided for her, and I gave that to her to read. This was done so she can refer to this when she gets confused. Once she starts her rehab  exercises, hopefully this will tire her out and she will sleep better.

Only time will tell, or perhaps I should say only the night will reveal what will happen…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.