Should I put my mother with Alzheimer's on a sleeping schedule?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 26, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My Mom has early severe Alzheimer's and sleeps a lot. She went to bed at 9pm and slept till 4pm next day. Should I have her on some kind of schedule?


Expert Answers

A social worker and geriatric consultant who specializes in dementia care, Joyce Simard is based in Land O' Lakes, Florida, and in Prague. She is a well-known speaker and has written two books, one focusing on end-of-life care and the other, entitled The Magic Tape Recorder, explaining aging, memory loss, and how children can be helpers to their elders.

If you can get your mother on a sleeping schedule, life will be easier for her and you. Routine (ritual) is very important to most people who have dementia as it is comfortable and familiar. Try to have a bed time and ritual for her for instance, say the same thing every night. "Mom, it's getting late and I think we should go to bed now". Let's have a glass of warm milk". Then take her to the bathroom, and have a ritual of saying "good night".
Some of the dementia programs in nursing homes play old Johnny Carson DVD's and then say it is "time for bed" when it's over!
Good luck!