How can you keep someone with Alzheimer's from sleeping all day?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
Sa asked...

I care for a lady and she has Alzheimer's disease. It just started about a month ago that all she wants to do is sleep. I mean SLEEP? I get her up dressed and fed and she sits in the chair and sleeps. When I get her out in the afternoon she sleeps in the car. I have suggested ridlin, what do you all think? Sleeps all day and then at night cannot sleep and keeps her husband awake.

Expert Answers

Joanne Koenig Coste is a nationally recognized expert on Alzheimer's care and an outspoken advocate for patient and family care. She is the author of Learning to Speak Alzheimer's. Also, she currently is in private practice as an Alzheimer's family therapist. Ms. Koenig Coste also serves as President of Alzheimer Consulting Associates, implementing state-of-the-art Alzheimer care throughout the United States.

Hearing that an Alzheimer (AD) person is sleeping most of the day is quite common. This 'sleepiness' most likely stems from one of two major sources: 1. Boredom - Keeping an AD person busy doing meaningful activities, tasks, and chores helps maintain a more wakeful state during the day. Activities can reflect a past interest or hobby simplified to meet the demands of the disease while tasks such as sorting buttons or cards into groups and chores such as dusting, raking or table-setting can help make him or her feel productive and energized. Check with a family member to find things that would be of interest from past history. Being outdoors during the day may also be helpful and offers an opportunity to both exercise and share some positive 1-1 time. 2. Medications - Medications, especially in the elder population, can easily lead to an increased daytime lethargy. Frequently, it is a combination of different meds or one specific med that interferes with the AD person's sleep/wake cycle. Simply changing the time of day that medications are given can change this back to a more acceptable routine. Do check with her physician and a pharmacist for assistance in offering meds on a different schedule. Adding another drug would most likely increase her desire for sleep.

Do remember to take care of yourself.