| Management Strategies
- In the evening time, it is a good idea to avoid drinks with caffeine in them, alcohol, as well as foods and drinks high in sugar. These are stimulants, and may be making it more difficult for the person you care for to fall asleep.
- Make sure that the person you care for has used the bathroom, and is not hungry before they go to bed. It will be easier for them to fall asleep if they are comfortable.
- Many times the person you care for may develop irrational fears or delusions. If they are afraid of the dark, consider putting a night light in their bedroom.
- If the person you care for has difficulty falling asleep at night, try and minimize any naps or time spent in the bed during the daytime. Make the bedroom for sleeping only, and avoid watching television, eating, or talking on the phone in bed.
- If the person you care for has a tendency to wander in the middle of the night, safety becomes a concern. Consider putting night lights in the hallways, or leaving a few lamps on in the main areas. As well, ensure that rugs are taped down to avoid tripping, keep furniture to the side of the room as much as possible and keep objects in the hallways to a minimum.
- If the person you care for has difficultly falling asleep at night, it may help to encourage exercise and physical activity during the day to make sure they are tired at night.
- You may have an easier time persuading or reminding the person you care for to sleep at an established time during the day. Creating this routine helps provide consistency and may make it easier for them to remember and fall asleep. If you are aware of any bedtime rituals they used to have, such as a warm glass of milk, try and incorporate this into the routine.
- If you find yourself unable to sleep as a result of their difficulties, you may need to take yourself out of the environment for a short period of time. This would be in the best interest of yourself and the person you care for. The Alzheimer Society in your area will know what respite care is available to you and how to obtain it.
- If sleeping problems persist, there may be a medical cause and it is a good idea to consult your family doctor .
- If the person you care for is unwilling to get out of bed and the time they spend resting has increased dramatically, it could be that they are becoming depressed. Consult your family doctor, who will investigate the matter further and may refer the person you care for to a psychologist or other specialist .
- Put away items used during the day by the person with dementia so they do not confuse night for day.
- Make sure the person with dementia is comfortable in bed, has taken their medications and followed their night time routine.
- If possible, have the bed visible from the bathroom (more likely to go back to bed if they use the bathroom at night).