How do we keep Dad from getting up multiple times a night with out medication?

1 answer | Last updated: Oct 02, 2016
Monroe asked...

My Dad, Martin, is 85, and has moderate Alzheimer's. He has a wonderful live in caretaker, but we are afraid we are about to lose her because he gets up at least 3 times at night to urinate and then sometimes begins to wander in the house, looking at things, asking questions. She is not getting her adequate rest. Thanks to the Lord he is still very gentle and kind, so she just needs to remind him that it is in the middle of the night and tells him to go back to bed. He does so without a fuss. His neurologist said that giving him a sleeping pill would only progress the illness quicker and is against that idea. His primary care doctor said we can't give him anything that would make him weak and not steady on his feet when he does get up to urinate. I can understand that we don't want him to take a fall. Do you have any suggestions? We really don't have the extra money to hire another full time evening caregiver. Forgot to mention that she does limit his liquids after 5 p.m. Any suggestions would be helpful. Thanks

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.

It sounds as if your professional caregiver is doing the appropriate intervention by limiting the amount of fluids your dad has before bedtime. This is step one. Step two is to find the right way to keep your caregiver from burning out. Sleep deprivation is the primary reason that professional carers leave a position no matter how much they may enjoy the client. I would seek the opinion of a second neurologist who may see the wisdom of offering your dad a mild sedative at night. This would be helpful to both your dad and to the caregiver. You may want to consider nightime briefs in hope of lessening the number of times he arises to urinate during the night. These come in many different sizes and weights and most are designed to mimic men's underwear.
If you could find other caregivers to occasionally help out, your professional helper could get some respite...think of it as a necessity to ward off burnout. You might check with family members or friends who are often looking for ways to help...give yourself permission to ask for help.