Are bouts of deep sleep associated with end stage Alzheimer's disease?

Maxxmissy asked...

My mother has Alzheimers (moderate stage) and has fallen into a really deep sleep three times within the past month which I cannot get a response from her to wake up. She just wants to stay asleep. Two hospital stays show no issues with her brain, such as bleeding. Is this part of the Alzheimers for the end stage?

Expert Answer

Ladislav Volicer, M.D., Ph.D., is recognized as an international expert on advanced dementia care. He is a courtesy full professor at the School of Aging Studies, University of South Florida, Tampa, and visiting professor at the Third Medical Faculty, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic. Twenty-five years ago, he established one of the first dementia special care units.

Increased sleepiness is very common in late stage Alzheimer's disease. However, if your mother is only in the moderate stage, there could be other causes of her deep sleep. She might have an absence-type epileptic seizures that is characterized by stopping all movements and looking asleep. New onset epileptic seizures may sometimes develop as dementia progresses. You might also want to check her medications, especially if she might be taking them herself.