Tag Archives: sundowners

Can’t believe it’s more than a month since I’ve written my blog.  Where does the time go?

Have spoken to the Community Psychiatric Nurse about the crying episodes which are getting worse.  She seems to feel it is a symptom of Mum’s illness rather than straightforward depression.  I agree with her really as she’s not in that state all the time, it just seems to sweep over her for no apparent reason.  The Nurse also said that these symptoms often last for a while and then disappear which makes sense, as the period where she got up and dressed in the middle of the night lasted for a while then suddenly stopped.  (Thank God!)

Her anxiety levels have risen lately.  She seems to worry about everything – usually about imaginary problems.  The main focus is the Day Centre – she imagines that nobody likes her and constantly thinks she has offended people or been treated really badly, which makes her not want to return.

She had a crying episode last night while Mark was here with me.  She had a brief moment where she asked who I was, then asked if Mark and I were brother and sister.  She then went down the paranoia route, saying I was lying to her and this wasn’t her home and she preferred her other home; and various ramblings that were pretty unclear but obviously upset her.

The evenings are my main problem at present.  As soon as we’ve finished tea at around 6.30, Mum gets really restless.  She’s up and down from her chair every ten minutes, wandering off but not knowing why or where.  So it’s very difficult to do anything in the evening as I seem to spend all my time trying to settle her down.  She is also finding it difficult to get ready for bed – often can’t recall how to get undressed and on occasion comes back into the lounge in a totally different set of clothes.

I have been given a Carer’s Direct Payment by Social Services to fund extra care so today we had a visit from the Care Manager of a local agency.  It will be an opportunity for me to go out a little more often and leave Mum in safe hands.  She will probably like to have someone else here who is prepared to offer her her full attention, something which I possibly don’t do enough!



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Posted by on August 17, 2012 in Diary


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I’ve finally got to the bottom of why Mum is distressed after the hairdresser has been.  We think that she believes she has actually gone to a hairdressing salon and she is sitting waiting for me to collect her.   She is getting agitated when Denise has left and a long time passes before I get home.   I have decided I need to be here from now on when she has her hair done.

We stayed in most of the Jubilee Holiday watching events on the TV which Mum did seem to enjoy to a certain extent.  However whilst watching the flotilla on the Thames, she got rather agitated and she seemed to think she was actually on the Queen’s barge.  Said she was very cold and wanted to get off!

A couple of funny anecdotes:

-Mum suddenly told me the other day that I could easily pass for 32.  (I am 63!)  I pointed out that my daughter is 33 but that didn’t seem to have any significance!

-My son, Ben, came over for the day recently and we were sitting ‘chatting’ to Mum when she suddenly gave a big sigh and said “Oh – c’est une voyage!” quite clearly.

I have known for some time that she doesn’t really follow TV programmes any longer, even ones she used to love such as Coronation St.  Indeed, the main problem as I have previously mentioned is that she thinks the programmes are actually part of her life and talks to the characters on the screen then wonders why they don’t reply.  However the other day the ad break came on and Mum was really confused.  When I tried to explain that it was the adverts, she really didn’t understand what they were!

If only we could see the world through the eyes of a dementia sufferer.  I told her this morning that she’d left her toast in the kitchen to which she replied, “I haven’t, it’s here” and patted the arm of the chair to point it out.  Then later when I brought her a cup of coffee she lifted an imaginary cup of coffee to her mouth.  She’s done that before but it’s very spooky.  Why can she see things that aren’t there and not see things that are there?

The sundowners continue to get worse.  I feel I can never really have a relaxed evening any longer as Mum is constantly fidgeting or wandering around the flat with no purpose.  Then she continually asks me questions that don’t make any sense.  Sometimes, if she disappears, I have to check what she’s up to as one of her latest obsessions is changing her clothes.  She’s just done it now, while I’m writing this, and she came back in the room with her trousers inside out!

But the worst part of the sundowners is the crying.  It’s distressing for her and also for me.  I have taken her to the GP about this and he increased her anti-depressant dose but it made no difference.  He thinks it’s an inherent part of her illness – great!   When I ask her why she’s crying she usually doesn’t know but sometimes says she’s frightened but doesn’t know what of.

She continues to not enjoy the Day Centre.  She came in yesterday and burst into tears.  When I asked her what what was wrong she said “If you’d had a day like I’ve had, you’d cry!”  She started to tell me some convoluted tale about the second world war and Belsen concentration camp, and how frightened she was.  Someone stroked her hand but she knew that was the secret signal!

I was so worried I actually rang the Day Centre.  I spoke to the Officer in Charge who couldn’t understand where it had come from.  She said they’d had a quiz in the afternoon as they often do and Mum had seemed fine, in fact she actually had a laugh with her whilst Mum was waiting for the bus.  She told me the problem is that Mum probably won’t tell them when she’s frightened but she will keep an eye on her as she has noticed that she is deteriorating.

Happy days!







Posted by on June 8, 2012 in Diary


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Evening Shenanigans!

Mum started to go weird yesterday evening.  She has got into the habit of being incredibly restless after about 7pm.  She’s up and down but doesn’t know where she wants to go.  She rarely settles to watch anything on TV nowadays and has started to get ready for bed as early as 8.30.  I try to discourage this as the earlier she goes to bed the earlier she’s up the next day.

She disappeared for a while at 9pm and when I went to check on her, she was changing her clothes.  Seemed to think she was going somewhere.  When I suggested she get into her dressing gown, she told me she wasn’t getting undressed for bed.  I said she couldn’t sleep in her clothes but she got quite argumentative and insisted it was okay to sleep fully dressed.  I asked her if she’d get undressed ‘to humour me’ which she did eventually with alot of sighing.

She got up for the bathroom at least 6 times in the night, once with an interval only 10 mins between visits.  I think it must just be a habit that when she is half-awake, she presumes she has to visit the bathroom.

Also had the lights and lamps episode at 3.30 am.

I’m a bit tired today!

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Posted by on April 2, 2012 in Diary


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More Night-time Shenanigans

Got a bit behind with my blog due to birthdays, family visits etc.  Things are jogging along in a very similar fashion with good days and bad days.  It is 6.30 a.m. at the moment and I was woken up about 15 mins ago by Mum opening and closing drawers and wardrobe doors as she decided to get up.  It’s her day for the Day Centre and I shouldn’t be surprised at her getting up early.  In fact I consider myself lucky she wasn’t up in the middle of the night as she was last week!

I’ve just checked my diary to see what times she was up last week.  First time was 2 a.m.   I went into her bedroom and she was fully dressed so I persuaded her to go back to bed but then she was up again at 5.40, then 10 mins later!   I finally let her get up at 6.40 – very similar to this morning.  She will now be ready to go by about 8 a.m., then will fall asleep in her chair for a while.  At about 9 a.m. she will put on her coat and sit in a dining chair by the window, waiting for the bus which comes about 9.45.

I’ve tried to explain that the bus will wait while she puts on her coat but she seems to think she has to be ready the second the bus arrives or it will go without her.


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Posted by on March 22, 2012 in Diary



Back to the GP

Mum has been up in the night for two nights running.  It’s following roughly the same pattern.  I wake up because she’s making a bit of noise and I go through to her room to find her fully dressed.  I try to explain that it’s night time and although she doesn’t really believe me, she does go back to bed.  Then she’s up again in an hour or two.

Consequently this morning I was so tired I decided I needed help so I had a telephone consultation with the GP.  He agreed with me that we need to give mum a sleeping pill to try and get her body clock back on track.  I don’t like doing it but I don’t see any alternative.  I feel I can cope with almost anything as long as I get a decent night’s sleep.  She doesn’t lose any sleep, she just makes up for it in the day.  She’s been asleep in her chair most of the day today!

I know I’ve mentioned it before but I can’t just go back to sleep when she’s disturbed me.  I lie there willing her to stay asleep and me to fall asleep.

We were watching TV this evening and she disappeared at 8.30 and came back in her dressing gown saying she was going for a wash.  She appeared about 10 minutes later, fully dressed in clean clothes.  When I started talking to her I realised she thought it was morning.  How can that be??  All the clues were there for it to be evening.  We’d eaten our evening meal, Coronation St had been on TV, it was dark outside.  I realise that an Alzheimer brain doesn’t connect the dots but for goodness sake!

She’s been doing another odd thing lately but more exaggerated tonight.  She’ll be talking about something but whatever she’s looking at distracts her so she substitutes words.   She was telling me earlier that she was tired and surrounded by carpet (there was a carpet ad on the TV).  I was typing this blog on my laptop at the dining table and she walked over to see what I was doing.  She asked if anyone had seen her daffodils (which were on the table) when she meant her glasses which are continually disappearing.

Wonder if we’ll sleep tonight?

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Posted by on March 2, 2012 in Diary



The Third Person

Got back home this afternoon after a weekend away in London. My sister, Jean, stayed with mum on the Friday and Saturday and she did exactly the same thing, got up and tried to get dressed in the middle of the night. Luckily for my brother, Mark, when he stayed over last night she was fine.

Mark doesn’t see mum on a daily basis like myself and Jean and he said that he noticed how much she had deteriorated recently.

It felt to me as though she’d deteriorated just in three days but that’s probably because she’s had her routine upset and that always sets her back a bit. When I tried to discuss the disturbed nights with her, she talked about herself in the third person, saying “Well I don’t think she knows she’s getting dressed in the night.” Very bizarre. She has been getting personal pronouns mixed up for some time, muddling ‘he’ and ‘she’ but this is a first.

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Posted by on February 27, 2012 in Diary



More of the Same

Exactly the same thing happened last night. She was up and dressed at 2 a.m. then again at 5 a.m and this time she was calling for me. When I got up to see what she wanted she showed surprise that I was still in bed.

The worst of it was that I was going away for the weekend to stay with my daughter and wasn’t in the best frame of mind after two nights of disturbed sleep. It’s all very well for people to ask why I can’t just go back to sleep after being woken in the night but you get so wound up by it all and then just lie there listening and praying for her to stay asleep.

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Posted by on February 24, 2012 in Diary