(800) 973-1540

How can I safely keep my mother with Alzheimer's in bed at night?

10 answers | Last updated: Mar 18, 2015
An anonymous caregiver asked...

I need some help. I have to restrain my mom in law at night, because she climbs out of her hospital bed we have at home and squeezes her body through a one foot gap in the rails.Mom is tinny, and weighs 92 lbs.I have tried stuffing pillows in the gap, but she kicks them out. she cant walk well and uses a walker, and her right leg is like dead weight, so she can never get around during the day with out me, holding her by the arms, Yet when she wakes up at all hours of the night, she is strong enough to pull her self up into a siting position using her bed rails, and she scoots her butt down till her feet reach the gap. Her walker has a cow bell on it and is at the cap in her bed,because. If her walker is not by her bed or even if it is she will walk around it to put on her glasses and walk out of her bed room with no help at all.When she dose this sheis in a difrent state of mind like she dreams some one is coming to pick her up and she needs to getready, or she thinks she is alone in the house. When she gets up her adrenelin is flowing fight or flight mode, so she walks with determination. We moved in with her my husband myself and our 20 year old daughter. I stay home 24-7 to take care of her. We got baby moniters, in her room and I carry one with me when shes naping or at her bed time it constantly with me when shes asleep or im alone with her and in another room. I must say I kinda feel like ebaneser scrooge's partner cus I drag that exstentiobn cord every whare! I spoke to her doctor to see if he knew whare I could get a restraint, like thay use in hospitals,that alow your arms and leggs to be free, and go around your mid section so she can sit up, but she cant scoot out of bed. My mom in law had dementia and its bad. My mom had it to and she even climbed out of her hospital bed in the hospital when she had high blood sugar, and she was parilized on he left side and one hand was cuffed to her bed,cuz she was pullin the tubes out, and the iv's, and she STILL managed to climb out of bed and she got twisted up in her rails, and hurt her arm.I dont want this to hapen to my mom in law, cuz what I have learned fom caring for may mom, my pop in law and my mom in law is that dementia,is like envasion of the body snachers, eany thing is posable for a person with dementia. trouble walkin , climbing, figurin out how get out of the house no problem. Never under estamate what you think thay are capable of doing cuz when thay think thay have some place to be, that fight of flight responce surprises the heck out of you.mom mom in law cant drink liquid with out a straw, but she can walk dow 3 large steps, with her walker in her hand and go 50feet to a familey members hous, then go up 3 more stairs and ring the door bell at 4:45 am and not make a sound. we learned the hard wAY THAT THING ARE SELDOM AS THAT SEEM.


Caring.com User - Monica Heltemes
Caring.com Expert
Send a Hug or Prayer
Monica is an occupational therapist and designer of adapted dementia products through her company MindStart. Activities for Persons With Memory Loss. In addition, she...
20% helpful
Monica Heltemes answered...

The number one priority in a situation like this needs to be safety. Bedrails and restraints are no longer allowed in nursing homes, as there have been instances where people See also:
FAQ: How Do I Keep My Loved One From Falling on His Way to the Bathroom at Night?
have been hurt by them or even died, when they have become caught up in them. So I would advise we focus on how to keep you mother-in-law safe when she decides to get up and how you might minimize how often that occurs versus how to keep her in bed. Here are some suggestions: 1. Limit sleeping during the day so she will be more tired at night 2. Increase the activity level during the day - taking short walks, pedal a stationary pedaler that sits on the floor, fold laundry, etc. 3. Get up with her when she gets up, use the bathroom, walk around a bit, have a snack, then go back to bed - she may have the need to move around even in the night 4. Have nightlights in place and throw rugs and other potential tripping hazards removed. It sounds like she is at high risk of falling. Sometimes when needs like these become too much to handle, families decide to make the move to hire additional in-home help or pursue placement in a facility. Another reason to consider this would be if your mother-in-law wanders out of the house without your knowledge - which, if I understand correctly, has happened before. Again, safety is the priority and right now the need for supervision that your mother-in-law needs is high. Contact your local Area Agency on Aging to find additional support and resources that might be available to you.


More Answers
17% helpful
momneedshelp answered...

Once in awhile, my mother will act like that. I sleep with her and fortunately, she sleeps like a log except once every 7-10 days, she's totally "manic" at night and can't be coached "down". Anyway, I put a chain lock at the very top of my door, inside so if she gets up and I don't know it (because I'm sleeping soundly) , she can't get out of the room and she can't reach high enough to undo the chain lock. Perhaps you could put on on the outside of her door that you can chain lock at night and at least you know she's not able to get out of her room. There are probably louder alarms that you can buy that would alert you to her getting up out of bed. While I agree that restraints could cause harm, there's a point at which we may have to take that risk for their own good, as well as ours. SAFETY is the main concern. It's amazing what their minds can enable their bodies to do. My mother was in the hospital with an IV, catheter and oxygen. The doctor put her right in front of the nurse's station (although they never bothered to look out for her - that's another story!) and she managed to get herself out of the bed and into the bathroom and the nurses never noticed. Due to the lack of concern/care on their part, I ended up sitting with her 12 hours a day and hired a care-giving agency to sit with her the other 12 hours at night so I could ensure mom didn't hurt herself or get out of bed again. The nurses could have cared less about their patients, but I noticed when the doctors showed up, they were all a flutter over them. Too bad the patients weren't the priority!


texan! answered...

In feb.i became a full time caregiver my mother was diagnosed in 2001 with dementia and 2006 Alzheimer , now she is in last stage in the , her days now are a little easier, when in the hospital i let them know since 2006 she needs to be given sedative or she will pull out iv or heart monitor if she needs testing kidney infection, a catheter must be used. in may i ask doctor for something for the aggression because we she argued with me every day and pulled my hair trying to get her to change clothes or bath, and looked online and my nephew works in nursing home he said patient with this type of behavior are given something for aggression, so made appointment with doctor and he order serqueol 50 mg, check side effects online, 2 week after started found she has irreglar heart beat, but you have to weight the go or bad, for her pulling or picking skin, now around 2:00pm she wants to leave put slide type lock on door ( front door and side door) i can relate with the strenght of two people, my mother is 73 now and when she gets mad she is very strong. Also i talk to doctor about getting a nurse to come in for a evaluation, since i thought i would not be able to take care of her for much longer, but now with the heart condition i would rather she stay home, until the end. But only time will tell she also on water pill two weeks, i suggest cut caffine also read all information alz,org and caring.com webmd and if you have to type question into goggles, yahoo.com, but ask doctor for help. my prayer are with you,also check for help in you area, my son and daughter have helped me alot.


50% helpful
An anonymous caregiver answered...

My 85-year diabetic Dad-In-Law with moderate Alzheimer's doesn't have a real mobility problem (walker when out shopping, etc.) and gets out of bed to use the bedside commode at night w/o difficulty, so I can't offer much help for the restraint issue. However, we need to know when he's out of the bedroom (and probably on his way to the kitchen for a snack). He's also had the issue of getting dressed and "going out to look for a car to take him home" in the middle of the night. I assume you might also be concerned about your Mom-in-Law getting out of her room and meandering around the house or trying to go outside. We've found probably the best thing ever invented to alert us when Dad's bedroom door or one of the doors to the outside is opened. We got it at the Alzheimer's Store when he first came to live with us. It's the Carlon Entrance Alert Chime (and no - I'm in no way connected to them - just a big fan). It's a simple system: you purchase as many main alert boxes as you want to plug into any electrical outlets (we have two - one in our bedroom and one in the computer room). Then you purchase individual two-piece chimes that easily stick onto the doors you want to monitor: one piece goes on the door and the other piece goes next to it on the door frame. There's a magnetic field created between the two pieces that, when broken, starts a chime in each of the plug-in alert boxes. You can set the chime to many different sounds; we use one chime for his bedroom door and a different one for the outside door, so we know exactly where he's headed. It's a loud enough alert (you can set the volume) to wake us at night. It's been a Godsend and has prevented many potentially-harmful blood sugar spikes and episodes of wandering at night. Hope the suggestion helps - it's easy to do, very flexible given your own home setup, doesn't need permanent installation of anything, and pretty inexpensive, especially given the alternatives and the potential for harm from wandering. Hope someone else can help you specifically with the issue of her trying to ambulate in her room. Maybe she's eligible for an in-home evaluation from a home health agency to see if there's anything more they can recommend. Keep on loving and caring - and know there are lots of us keeping you and your family in our thoughts.


dragon fly answered...

I thank you for all the advice I have been given. And I know that at this point with my mom in law her dementia is in full swing.I have chin lockes on all the doors leading to out side, I sleep with a moniter on my night stand,so I can heare her when she gets up. moms cant go for walks, she has breathing problems, and has and enhalor for that. There is not tring to figure out whats gona make her not get up and try to leave the house at night, we have had a year to study her, with the help of her doctor, and it seems its a crap shoot , she wakes up at all hours regardless of what we do during the day.As far as in home help coming in, thats not gona hapen till hospic comes in, we have been through that already and know what to exspect. when moms climbs, squeezes through the rails,shes on a mission to get out, ether she belives her bro is comin to take her some place home, or whare ever, shes manic about it and it takes time to calm her down and put her back in bed. she can barly walk 2 steps with out becomin unballanced, or panting but when she climbin out of bed she has a totally difrent type of energy and can walk with out her walker, thats scarry,and dangerous. My husband and I went through our savings, 401 ks and our retirement funds,taking care of his parents , for the last 5 years, so we cant aford to place her some place and the ones we could aford are not fit for a dogie, let alone a love one. I know that sounded mean, or harsh, but we could not send her to a whare house. We plane to keep her with us in her home till god takes her.I know in my heart thats whats right, my body and mind or just so, tiard that at times I have to cry, and vent and then I can get on with it and over it till, the next time I have to vent.


An anonymous caregiver answered...

i agree that the hospital style bed with rails is incredibly potentially dangerous. you should see what happens to an old lady's legs when she slides them in between the rails and then stands up -- ouch. i'm no big fan of medication for behaviors in general in dementia, but i'm a very big fan of getting behaviors looked at by a psychiatrist, with a possible medication plan to follow. many of the behaviors listed here are actually more typical of mental illness and ptsd issues. someone with dementia can also be mentally ill -- they call it dual diagnosis. remember that one in four women in sexually molested as a child and the majority of people with dementia are female. in my working life as a caregiver, i have found without exception that the really disturbed at night are women with these issues and men who have been to war, or those with lifelong undiagnosed mental illness. so i'd urge families to see an expert for guidance. under medicare, a psychiatrist is covered and you then get a chance to try whether good meds can help. even a sleeping med can help with much of this. so instead of living a besieged life as a caregiver, it can be possible to find more useful solutions. no caregiver can do well without enough sleep. and, by the way, there are PLENTY of really good small care homes out there where elders are really well looked after. so let's not generalize in negative ways based on one bad place you know. i know the care world well and i can tell you for sure there are many good places. families often manage much better when they share the care of their person with such a place. do your homework to find the good places and look for something licensed for between 5 and 10 people. they'll end up doing a better job than you will if you never get enough sleep or time off or any peace in your life.


50% helpful
Greg's Mom answered...

have U considered putting one of those swimers foam noodles under the mattress to create an incline? There are mattresses called scoop or perimiter but are very costly. putting the noddle or rolling up a blanket placing it under the edge of the mattress creates an incline for the person to navigate and can make it extremely difficult to climb out. I would put an old mattress on the floor next to the bed in case the person does actually climb out.


RanaC answered...

I have had experience with using a scoop mattresses. They are hard to get in and out of but are very safe. It is a much more permanent solution than a pool noodle. I bought mine at scoopmattress.com. The gentleman I spoke with was very helpful and kind. Hope this helps!!


An anonymous caregiver answered...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yb814QNRuOY Go to this link. It is a video on how to help keep alzheimer or dementia patients asleep and how to keep them from wandering. The whole youtube channel is full of tips on caring for seniors.


Filomena answered...

My mother inlaw have Dementia i take care of her 24/7 with my husband and she cant walk by herself but at night after been in bed for about half/hour she starts pulling the blankets out and she managers to sit on bed and trow all them in the floor so we tried to keep her in bed by add some velcro to the blankets and to the bed to snap ease at the bottom of the bed sides that keeps her from pulling the blankets out ..hope this helps someone !!