rosemrnApril 12, 2011

My 79 year old mother lost her eyesight about 1 1/2 year ago to temporal arteritis. She can only see a few shadows. Lately, she is convinced that the staff at her nursing home are putting her outside on a bench to sleep at night. She says that this makes her afraid of night coming knowing that she will be put outside to sleep. Of course, the reality is that she is inside but you cannot convince her that she is in her room, in her bed with her tv. She just gets upset. She has had approx 15 episodes in the last 6 months. I think that she is having sundowners, but she has not been officially diagnosed with this. I just don't seem to be able to help her when she is like this. It just upsets me for her to be afraid and crying sometimes. Last night she was sitting in her wheelchair near the nursing station, but she felt as though she was out in the street and why wasn't anybody helping her.

What to do. The doctor has her on Seroquel at night.


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Sundowners is not a diagnosis, from what I know. It is a symptom of dementia, tho. You need to talk to the staff and her doctor about that.

There's an old thread that might help you, and also look for the long thread about dementia.

Here is a link that might be useful: thread about dementia and sundowners

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 7:24PM
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Rose, your mom has been dealt a double whammy. Dealing with such severe vision loss and probable dementia is really difficult. My mom suffered from wet macular degeneration and lost quite a bit of her vision. The vision loss all by itself was upsetting but her dementia interpreted the shadows and blurry images in sometimes frightening ways. She was convinced that people were outside the bathroom looking at her. Her mind "filled in" for what her eyes could not see clearly. Unfortunately, her mind was not capable of reasoned thought. It was difficult to see my mom so anxious and troubled, to say the least.

Sushipup gave you good advice. You need to talk to the staff about what she's experiencing and the implications of her vision loss. Sometimes care workers don't understand how vision loss can have such far reaching ramifications. You also need to talk to her doctor about your suspicions of sundowners.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 11:08PM
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