Staying in Bed All Day

suziequeJune 7, 2013

My 94 year old dad lives in a memory care facility. He has started to refuse to get out of bed in the morning, slaying there and sleeping until early to mid afternoon. Sometimes he gets up and gets dressed then and other times he gets up and stays in his pajamas.

I have had him evaluated by the doctor and there is nothing new or specifically going on. The workers at the facility are fabulous.

Has anyone experienced this? Any thoughts? Oh - he is also sleeping through the night, so it's not that he's not getting enough sleep then.


This post was edited by suzieque on Fri, Jun 7, 13 at 11:37

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I'd just let him be. Are the caregivers at his home complaining? At 94, he can do whatever, I guess.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 12:15PM
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No, they're not complaining but are concerned. Yes, of course he can do whatever he wants, but he is missing breakfast and lunch, although the caregivers do save food for him but he only eats a bit.

When he gets up, it's only until about 7:30 PM and then he goes to bed again. Perhaps a nursing home is in our future. I hate that thought.

I don't want to force him to do anything he doesn't want to do unless the alternative is harmful to him.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 12:24PM
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Perhaps the caregivers need to be a little more assertive. I'd enlist their help if at all possible. No saving food from meals, but more encouragement to dress and come to the table to eat.

Good luck, it's so hard to see such a decline.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 1:00PM
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I hope when I reach that point in my life that I will be able to do what he is doing. If he dies sleeping it will be a blessing instead of the multitude of other ways he could die. My mother did that and we don't know what caused it, but it was what she wanted. She had ask before, "why is it taking me so long to die"?

    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 3:11PM
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Do they have any activities that might interest him. When my mother in law was in an assisted living home they had something going on all the time. She loved doing many of the activities, she didn't like crafts. Do you visit often or other family members. We would visit her and stay about an hour and a half. Take her to lunch or an activity and then we would leave. She aways wanted to go home which was in another state so that wasn't happening but we made sure we were there alot. She also slept alot.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 5:22PM
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Thank you all. Yes, there are activities but he's not interested. I visit every day. I take him out to lunch a couple of times per week WHEN he is willing to get up and go out, which has decreased dramatically.

Please don't misunderstand; perhaps I didn't word my post well. I'm not trying to force him to do anything against his will. I simply was meaning to ask if anyone else had encountered this and whether there were any thoughts about what might be causing this very sudden change.

Again, thank you all.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 10:17PM
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CA Kate

You should have both his blood pressure AND especially his blood sugar checked. Either or both may be extremely low, which would cause him to sleep a lot.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2013 at 1:19AM
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Thanks for the advice, westelle. His blood pressure was checked and it's slightly high, but not a lot. Will try to have the blood sugar checked.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2013 at 8:27AM
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My friends father started this pattern; it turned out he had gangrene in his foot and it was too painful for him to move about. He was still at home and had severe arthritis and so when he merely complained that he was tired and in pain, it seemed not unlogical he was staying in bed. In reality, he didn't want to be put back in hospital so he decided to keep his problem a secret. He was able to bathe himself, etc and at close to 90 the family felt he should make his own choices about staying in bed all day or not. He ended up being faced with amputation. As long as you have him completely checked out, then once in a while a day in bed is okay especially if the weather is inhospitable. BUT for a number of health reasons, most days he should be up and about a fair amount of his day, even if that is in the middle of the night. Circulation, neurological issues, breathing and many more common old age issues are best handled when the senior citizen is up and moving about. On nice days, he can lounge outside with a blanket and a comfy lounge chair in the warm sun and fresh air. Watching TV, taking a ride in the car to buy a lottery ticket, going to a burger joint for some fries, going to a playground to watch children play are all great ideas to keep him alert and moving about without tiring him out. I believe that wanting to stay in bed is generally a result of geriatric boredom, loneliness, sadness from the loss of a spouse or close friend, and the difficulty in planning and executing even a short adventure are all common causes. If Dad or Mom is ambulatory getting them an older dog is a super idea. A healthy dog in the twilight of their years is a gentle companion and your parent has a friend he saved from being put down due to old age. A dog is a great reason to get out of bed and get outside each day. If you say but Dad would be heartbroken if his dog died, I would challenge that. An attitude that your parent is actively and unselfishly contributing to his community gives him a sense of belonging. My mom adopted a senior Golden retriever in her late 70's. Both walked slowly and carefully. Both ached a little and saw things a little fuzzily but they enjoyed their meanders down the walk, the other people they met along the way, especially the children in the neighborhood and the dogs who lived there and they loved sharing their snacks throughout the day and curling up together on the sofa. Mom was terribly sad when her dog passed away but the happiness that they shared almost up to Mom's passing far outweighed the loss. So in a nutshell, if the medical check up shows no serious medical reason for a day in bed, then why not. But two or more consecutive days in bed are not healthy for the senior parent. It opens them up to greater pain from arthritis, exacerbates their respiratory issues, and allows their brain to slow down and their memory and focus to get 'sleepy'. It may seem easier to let them make that choice, and boy, can they dig their heels in but I always say, whether its your dog or your dad, sometimes it has to be tough love because its the best choice. Those people living longer are the busy ones and the ones whose days intertwine with others, even strangers, children in the park and a doggy buddy.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 5:24AM
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Also check side effects of medications.

Sometimes, at the end of life, though, people just wind down like that. Appetite decrease, they sleep more. If he is alert and interactive in the time that he is up and awake, then it could be just that his biorhythms are changing.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 3:49PM
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According to the literature hospice provided for us, this is natural for someone who is reaching the end of their life. It's part of the shutting down process. My 85 year old dad is doing this more and more. I just let him sleep. He's also eating less and less. I don't try to force this either. That is also part of the shutting down process.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 3:58PM
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