Dementia and Sleep Disturbances: How You Can Help

Dementia comes with many distressing symptoms that increase in severity as the disease progresses. This involves depression and apathy, reduced concentration, and loss of inability to do everyday tasks.

When you’re the family caregiver of a loved one with dementia, these symptoms are all too familiar to you. One of the hardest challenges you may face is when your elderly patient experiences sleep disturbances. Sleep disturbances range from nighttime confusion to insomniac wandering, and can be quite a struggle to deal with.

Common Nighttime Struggles with Alzheimer’s Disease

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Changes to the sleep-wake cycle
  • Waking up suddenly in confusion
  • Nighttime wandering

At Bridgeway Senior Living’s memory care unit, we tailor each resident’s nighttime care plan to their unique personality, history, and preferences. When a resident comes into our facility, we build a complete profile of their previous life, to help in situations where they wake up in distress or confusion.

If you are the primary caregiver for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, here are some tips from our memory care’s staff to help your loved one have a restful night:

  • Make sure your loved one spends time in a room with lots of natural lighting, to stimulate his or her internal clock.
  • Create nighttime rituals and routines, and stick to them at all times, to promote healthy sleeping patterns.
  • Avoid exposing your loved one to flickering screens, like TV sets, starting a few hours before bedtime.
  • Make sure the bed and pillow are comfortable and to your loved one’s liking.
  • Encourage using the bathroom before bedtime.

Providing stimulating recreation during the day can also help your loved one sleep better.

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