The Sleepless Caregiver

One of the most difficult things about caring for someone with Alzheimer’s, is never really getting a good night’s sleep. Have you ever heard the expression, “sleeping with one eye open?” Well, it isn’t a easy thing to accomplish but, as a caregiver, you may find it necessary to do just that!

I know that when I was caring for my dad, my bedtime consisted of more napping then an actual night’s sleep. I constantly would be listening to see if he was moving around, worrying about what chaos he might get himself into. After many years of this I naturally became a light sleeper. Now, six months after my father’s passing, I still don’t think I’ve slept through an entire night. I find myself tossing and turning and still stuck in the habit of being concerned about him throughout the night.

Everyone needs sleep, and dealing with the additional stress of being a caregiver, the human body will require even more.

It is a well-known fact that sleep is essential to maintaining good health. You can only skimp on sleep for a short period of time before major compilations start setting in. Going without enough rest for extended lengths of time will cause a variety drastic conditions to develop, such as weight gain, irritability, depression and other mental disorders.

When your patient’s Alzheimer’s begins to move forward, sleep deprivation will become a more frequent problem. For instance, when patients start developing “Sundown Syndrome,” there will be no orthodox standard for sleep for anyone in the house. Fatigue will creep up to the point where you can’t even see straight. Headaches and body pains could last for days.

If this is the case, it is time for you to ask someone for help. Call a neighbor, friend or family member. There were times when I would call my sister so she could come sit with our father so I could just sleep; and the fact I knew I didn’t have to worry about him would let me get some of the soundest sleep I’d had in weeks.

When you’re exhausted, mistakes are easily made and being a caregiver you could commit an error that could be disastrous!

Serving a double dose of medication is a common problem because one becomes so tired they did not remember dispensing it 15 minutes ago. In addition there is a possibility of a car accident on the way to a doctor’s appointment. These are things that can simply happen from being overtired.

You must learn to ask for help. You need someone who can pitch in. If you have a nearby relative don’t take “no” for an answer. You can’t go without sleeping. Everything will certainly fall apart and then there will be two people in desire need of help.