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Been here, but busy life, and keep returning for help.... I have an important question and need to know if anyone knows or has had issues with this:

Mom has dementia for several years, been in NH for almost 2 years and seems to be getting worse....she will not get out of bed, lays sideways in the bed with legs and head off each end.  She will get up with force, but will slump back down and go back to sleep.    She refuses to get dressed or go to the dining room, and wants her food in her room.   Each time I visit her, she is fast asleep in crazy ways in the bed.

She is almost 80 years old.  With Dementia for several years.

Please give me any information from anyone on this.

Thank you so much, Carol Ann
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Jane in MA
I have never seen this. Have you peeked into any of the other  rooms to see how people are sleeping?

I would have a chat with the head nurse. Sh e may have some experience with this. I have come to rely on my mother's NH head nurse. She has seen it all. You must tell her to be candid with you and don't be upset too much (with her) if she tells you that she has seen this often with end of life.

The fact that your mother is sleeping all the time may be that she is declining fast or they have put her on a new medication.

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billie jo

carol ann, my first question would be if they have changed her meds. i have never seen anyone sleep across the bed, but that means she is still active in her room. daisy has taken to wanting to sleep all the time. she also refuses to get up but i get her up anyway. she keeps trying to turn around and go back to her bed. once i get her out she is willing to eat, she has to be hand fed as her coordination is gone, but she eats everything i bring. refuses to go into our kitchen, dining room [i think this is left over from her days in the independent living facility she was in. she thinks it is closed because all the people aren't there. after i feed her she dozes off again and would sleep all day if i didn't wake her and talk or do something with her. and i do mean 24 hours a day. she has no medical problems, just 88 years old and advanced alzheimers. her memory is in the second now. she can follow some directions but is limited in what she really understands. but, back to your question about what is normal, when i worked in the nh i saw many who just wanted to sleep all the time. the cna's had to get them up and get them to the dining table. i would think that if she wants to take all her meals in her room she is still with it enough to express opinions. in my opinion you should talk to the head of the staff and ask if they would get her up and get her to the dining room. she could use some interaction while she is eating to encourage her to eat. i know this goes against what a lot of people say about letting them do what they want and letting nature take it's course. but i find many of them are not at end stage, they are just tired and depressed. any stimulation and encouragement is better than none. just my opinion. i don't know all your mom's physical problems or history so this advice is not written in stone, but often in a nh people will give up if they are allowed to. also, i they offer activities ask that she be taken to them, if not to participate, to at least observe. if you are worried about her falling out of her bed and getting hurt, they can put her mattress directly on the floor. check into the restraint laws. i believe that although rails cannot be used, body pillows can be propped along ther side to prevent her from rolling in her sleep. i also was told by my instructor that if the family and doctors agreed it was for the loved ones safety, that rails may be used. i haven't heard anyone but him agree on this, so check that out carefully. daisy's son suggested the mesh children's rails. i know i am going to get blasted on the legality of any of this, and i will appreciate it if someone who knows will step in and state what the law says. thanks.

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Carol Ann: The time I noticed this was when mom (86 with dementia) started having to use a walker and getting her legs up in bed started to become difficult for her. She tries to get up and do things by herself at her own pace. I had gotten her all ready for bed and tucked her in but later in the night, I peeked into her room (she stays with us on little mini vacations from the NH) and she was in the very position you mentioned seemingly asleep. She seemed a little rigid - I do believe she just couldn't maneuver herself back into position again. I know there are different variables with these situations, but my thought was she was having trouble getting her legs to move and had  strength and agility loss needed to move . Also, I think being tired - maybe they fall asleep mid trying.
-The Daughter
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Just popping in for a very quick visit to the board (I'm on a deadline) but wanted to say the my mother who has dementia sleeps all the time; she will start to watch something on TV and conk off, she naps for several hours in the afternoon, goes to bed early, sleeps all night, zzzzzzzzzzz. Almost like she has narcolepsy.
The doctor said it was age but I suspect it's the dementia.
Don't know if she lays in bed strangely because I haven't been there when she's asleep in the bed.
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Carol Ann,
I would suspect she may not be getting fed and hydrated enough, malnutrition and dehydration are also things that cause dementia symptoms. When my mom who has dementia and is 88 years old gets deh
ydrated she is much worse. I would suspect the some of what is happening to your mom might be along those lines. Is she thinner than when she came there, did she have a rapid weight loss recently? These are things you might want to check on, ask for  the med charts and nurses records, her food intake and ask specifically how they decide how much she has eaten? Some places look at a meal and say oh half gone so 50% was eaten, but it could have been they ate a butter sandwich and a glass of water and juice, well that might be half of a meal, but how much nutrition was it? Just things I have learned in the elder care trenches.

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2nd kathy

laying sideways is my dad's habit now as well and it is basically as "the Daughter" stated; because he has a tough time lifting his legs onto the bed. What scares me more is when he refuses to lay back as he falls asleep leaning forward. One of these days he is going to crash onto his bed table or the floor as he dangerously rocks forward sleeping in that position. He has a hospital bed and I place it low enough for him to comfortably get in and out but those tree trunk legs are hard for him to lift at all and unless I go in there and personally hit the button, he won't lift the head of the bed so he can sit comfortably with his legs up as he should anyway.

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Part of depression is the constant wanting to sleep all the time.   My mother would lay in the bed in the NH in a fetal position as she felt it more comfortable   The nurses would try to straigten her and then she would get back in that position.    My mother had a habit of refusing food alot and this can aggravate dementia   

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carol ann

It is weird....I went the next day to visit, and she was up walking to the bathroom.  She did not remember me being there just the day before.  When she sat down, we sat in silence.  Very strange.  All so new to me and I am not sure what to think of it all.    Thank you all for responding....I need as much advice and information as I can possibly get.   Love, Carol Ann

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My mother has never been diagnosed with dementia, but all her symptoms seem to indicate that she does indeed have the disease. She just turned 89 and has been in a decline for about one year. Her memory was slipping last Jan. and she was already nearly deaf and blind in one eye and the other eye has very little vision. But one illness after another last year sent both parents to A/L. Daddy is 87 and very frail..on walker. I have been told different things by different facilities...NH and hospital. We've tried changes in meds and that helps at first. Now, she just wants to sleep 24/7 if we would let her. I try and Daddy tries to wake her, but she just wants to sleep. She told me one day when she refused to get out of bed to go for an outing that she was just trying to die. She is on anti-depressants. Sleep studies show nothing. I do believe the dementia is taking over and her inability to see and hear (yes, she has hearing aids she refuses to wear and glasses she won't wear) causes her withdrawal. The frustrating thing is, the so called experts say they don't really know what's the matter. We just guess. Going through this ordeal with my parents has been an eyeopener. Lot's of people out there just want to get you into their facilities and don't really care about the residents. Just looked up excessive sleeping with dementia on the net and couldn't really find anything that says"yes" this is a late stage of dementia. Anyone know? Thanks,JR  

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What about anemia?  My father has not been diagnosed with dementia, however, sleeps all the time...he is severely anemic, low platelets, low hemoglobin....not eating I would guess would cause anemia.  Currently he is on an iron supplement...doing a little better...I would ask that she have blood work done..Just my 2 cents...

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My MIL was put on an antidepressant that made her very sleepy. We thought it was just weakness, but a sharp doctor figured it out, switched her to another one, and she is awake a lot more. Didn't help the dementia much though.

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Janice W
My MIL was put on Paxil, and it made her sleep way too much. When we cut the dose in half she slept normally. Do check on her meds.
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Dad sleeps a lot, but he is nearly 96, and I am told this is normal at that age. He is well fed, well hydrated, just so very old. I have put a container of water and a little ginger syrup at his bedside and he drinks it through the night.
His GP has given me valium for his night anxieties, so he often sleeps through the night now instead of waking up restless.
He sleeps in fairly normal positions but often has the blankets pulled up over his head.
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My mother has had dementia for the past 10 years.  She maintained a fairly happy lifestyle until she could no longer crochet.. She stopped watching tv 2 years ago because she couldn't understand it anymore.   just this last year, all she wants to do is sleep.  When I go to get her up in the morning, she says "please just let me lay for a few more minutes.'  I go in there and find her snoring for the next 2 hours.  I know she is at peace with her sleep. I have to force her up to eat and have coffee and all she says and wants to talk about is how tired she is and "can I go back to bed now?"  We've tried to engage her, get her to fold clothes, water plants,dust but to no avail..I think she finds her peace at sleep.  Would you want to live if you cannot do purposeful things and see how you are losing your independance every day?  One day I will do exactly what she wants and let her sleep allllllllll day.  After all she says to me "i have had to get up every morning all my life and I think I have earned this."     Just a thougt
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