Sleep and Rest

Long ago I learned that people with dementia reach a point at which they sleep more. I’ve been mindful that would happen, but I wasn’t prepared for the way that is happening with Kate. I just thought she would simply start going to bed earlier and getting up later.

I’ve not been able to identify a consistent pattern for her. Until two years ago, she went to bed between 8:00 and 9:00 and got up early enough for us to get to Panera for a blueberry muffin between 9:00 and 10:00. In addition, she would rest a while after lunch. That would give us time to spend an hour or more at the café at Barnes & Noble before going to dinner.

When she started sleeping as late as 11:00 or 11:30, we stopped going to Panera. It was time for lunch. Along with that, our afternoons changed. She wanted to rest immediately after lunch. That would last as long as two or three hours which took up most of the afternoon. That put an end to our visits to Barnes & Noble.

This pattern changed with the arrival of COVID-19. Kate was losing her ability to work jigsaw puzzles on her iPad long before then, but she lost it completely after we began sheltering. That was her last self-initiated activity and had a significant impact on her sleep and rest. As recently as a year ago, she could easily spend 6-8 hours a day working her puzzles. That lessened during the day because she was either sleeping or resting, but she continued to work on her iPad for an hour or more each night. That meant she got to bed between 8:00 and 9:00.

Without her puzzles, she had nothing to do after dinner. I tried to interest her in looking at her family photo books, but she really needs someone to identify all the people. That was a time when I would try to catch a little of the evening news and get my shower. The result was her going to bed shortly after dinner. Since we have started eating out some evenings, that means she gets to bed around 7:30 although she is rarely asleep when I get in bed.

Several times a few months ago, she refused to get up when I tried to wake her. Before that, she wasn’t always eager to get up, but she never refused. Since that first time, there have been several other times like that. One day she remained in bed until 5:15 in the afternoon. Then she began to wake up early on a few mornings. I am now used to her getting up early almost once a week, sometimes twice.

Until recently, she has always gotten up rather quickly in the afternoon. The exceptions occurred in the last week or ten days. The first time happened when I wanted her to get up for dinner. After a couple of efforts within 15-20 minutes, I let her rest another hour. Then she got up agreeably.

Thursday afternoon last week we had hair appointments at 3:30. She was resting, not asleep, when the sitter arrived for me to meet a friend for coffee. I returned just a few minutes before we needed to leave. She was still resting. I told her it was time for our hair appointments and fully expected her to get up easily. I was wrong. She was just like she has been in the morning. She was very relaxed but also very firm in saying she wasn’t going. I called the stylist and told her I was having trouble getting Kate up and that I might have to cancel. I gave her another ten minutes and tried again. I could see it was no use and rescheduled our appointments.

I stayed in the family room with her while she rested. An hour later she was ready to get up. She was in a good humor. I feel sure she didn’t even remember that I had tried to get her up earlier. It wasn’t long before we left for dinner at Casa Bella and had a good evening. It was as though nothing had happened at all. We both felt good.

Saturday morning she was up very early. I had just gotten up and walked into the bathroom when I heard her moving. She had gotten out of bed. I helped her to the bathroom and took advantage of the early morning and confusion to give her a shower. When we finished, I helped her dress. She wanted to lie down on the bed. Because it was so early, I was happy to tell her that would be all right. That gave me time to comb my hair, shave, and dress. She remained in bed until time for lunch.

Sunday morning, she was up before 9:00. She was unusually cheerful at breakfast. Afterwards, we spent about forty-five minutes looking at one of her family photo books. It didn’t surprise me when she got tired and rested over an hour before lunch.

She awoke early again this morning, about 7:30. I went to her and found that she seemed wide awake and in a good mood. When I told her it looked like she was ready to get up, she said, “I don’t know.” We talked a few minutes. I told her I would be happy to help her get up and dressed. She said she wanted to rest a little more. It’s my day for Rotary, and I like to have her ready for the sitter who comes at noon. We had plenty of time, so I let her continue to rest. I don’t plan to get her up until 11:00. If she wants to stay in bed, I’ll let the sitter handle it.

The only thing that’s clear is that Kate hasn’t settled into a consistent sleep pattern. I’m not sure whether the present irregularity is something that is long-lasting, or she will gravitate to something else. As Kate herself is prone to say, “We’ll see.”

The Sleep Issue Continues.

Yesterday was almost a rerun of Saturday though this time I was more successful in getting Kate up. There was another difference. On Saturday, she seemed to be all right. Yesterday she was disturbed and unable or unwilling to help me understand what was bothering her.

Around 11:00, I put on a Julie Andrews album of music from Broadway.  That didn’t have any impact although I may not have given it as much time as I should have, less than fifteen minutes. The end result was that she didn’t want to get up. Because she was disturbed, I shifted gears and brought in The Velveteen Rabbit. That calmed her, but she went back to sleep before I finished.

In the meantime, I received a call from the agency that provides our sitters. The sitter was running late. That meant I would be late to my Rotary meeting. I thought about cancelling but decided to be late to the meeting. The minute I hung up I felt that I made the wrong decision and called them back. Given Kate’s situation, I thought it would be better if I skipped the meeting altogether and see if I might get her up a little later.

I ordered lunch to be delivered by Panera. I let Kate rest while I ate lunch. Then I tried getting her up again about 12:30. She wasn’t interested. I decided she should at least have a little juice and one of her morning meds that has an uncomfortable side effect if it is skipped. She drank a little juice, but she refused her pill. She was quite angry. I knew then that getting her up was a lost cause for a while.

I returned to the bedroom about twenty minutes later with (you guessed it) The Velveteen Rabbit. I also took a couple of her photo books in case TVR let me down. She didn’t want me to read to her, but I told her I would like to read it myself (out loud, of course). She didn’t protest, but she closed her eyes and didn’t express any audible interest until after I was mid-way in the book. Then she began to make audible expressions that fit with what was happening in the story. That was a good sign. I forged ahead with some optimism.

She opened her eyes and kept them open through the end of the book. I said, “Thank you for letting me read that. It’s a nice story.” She nodded her agreement. I was developing some confidence, but I didn’t want to abruptly suggest she get up for lunch. I held back. Instead, I told her it was also nice to be able to share the story with her and went on to say that she was very special to me and how much I like our being together. I said, “I hope you feel the same way.” That enabled us to have a brief conversation about our feelings for each other. After a few minutes, I was able to get her up and dressed.

When we got to the family room, she stopped to look at some of the poinsettias that are thriving but now have mostly green leaves. Then she wanted to rest. She rested about thirty minutes before I asked if she would like something to eat. We spent the next hour at the kitchen table chatting while she ate. We followed that with one of our tours of the dining room and living room. She wanted to rest again and took her place on the sofa until it was time for dinner.

The rest of the day went well. We had a pleasant afternoon and evening. She was tired when she got in bed but didn’t go to sleep right away. She didn’t, however, encounter any uneasiness. She just rested while I played YouTube music videos for her. There was no need for TVR. I think she went to sleep soon after I got in bed. I know I did.

A Day of Sleep

Saturday was a day that Kate slept/rested until almost 3:30. It was in the early spring of this year that she first stayed in bed so late. Since then, there have been 3-4 other days like that. She didn’t get out of bed until 5:15 one of those days. In addition, there have 5-10 days in which I thought she wasn’t going to get up, but I was successful in coaxing her.

On some of those occasions, she was scared of something she couldn’t identify while she seemed all right the other times. She just didn’t want to get up. Saturday was like the latter. In fact, she surprised me. When I tried to get her up around 11:00, she was awake and greeted me warmly. I told her I was glad to see her and wanted to take her to lunch. She smiled. She told me that sounded nice.

The problem occurred when I told her I had her clothes out and would help her up. She said, “In a little bit.” That didn’t sound good. When she says that, she doesn’t usually follow through. I told her I would let her rest a little longer and came back in fifteen minutes. It was clearer that she wasn’t going to get up. I tried several times over the next hour and a half and then gave up.

Close to 3:30, I returned to try again. She was awake and in a good mood. I had no problem getting her up, showered, and dressed. I had already decided we would have an early dinner, so I didn’t get her lunch. I gave her some juice and blueberries. Then we enjoyed our time together looking at her photo books.

She hasn’t been as interested in the YouTube music videos, so I tried something different  after returning home from dinner. It was early enough that I decided to put on a DVD of Sound of Music. She has responded to movies for a long time, but I thought it was worth a chance, especially because of the music. She lay flat on the bed with her eyes closed most of the time. She didn’t appear to be watching or paying attention, but she remained awake until the end. At one point, I asked if she was still watching and was prepared to turn it off. She wanted to continue. She went to sleep without a problem after that.

She apparently got enough sleep. The next morning she was up before 7:00.

Alzheimer’s Has Been Testing Me For The Past Two Days: Part 1

Preface

I wrote most of this post yesterday (Saturday). That was 24 hours after I started. My intention was to write a brief summary of a special time Kate and I had Friday morning. I dropped those plans when other things took precedence. Although the morning had gone very well, the day turned out to be most unusual and very challenging. Even more unusual, was that it marked two days in a row that Kate faced problems that were especially difficult for me to address. A lot has happened. I won’t do justice to what occurred, but here’s the story in two parts, starting with Thursday.

Kate got up early on Wednesday and didn’t rest as much as usual during the day. Thus, it was no surprise that I needed to wake her on Thursday. At 11:00, I played music to wake her up gradually. After 30 minutes, I went in to see if she was awake. She wasn’t. That is unusual. Normally, she would be relaxing in bed while the music plays.

When I spoke to her, she responded and seemed sleepy but not disturbed in any way. I sat down on the bed beside her and chatted with her a few minutes. I told her it was getting close to lunch time. She wasn’t interested and said she would get up “in a little while.” We didn’t have any immediate plans, so I told her I would check a little later.

I checked at noon and again at 1:30. She still did not want to get up. She had a hair appointment at 3:00, so I tried again at 2:00. Still no luck. This time she looked somewhat disturbed and said, “Shhh” when I spoke. She pointed to the ceiling and very softly said, “See them?” I nodded and hoped that she wouldn’t ask me about “them.” She didn’t.

I mentioned that she had a hair appointment. She wasn’t interested. It didn’t matter if I cancelled, but I thought it might help her to get up and out. I encouraged her to go but decided not to push her.

I left the room to cancel the appointment. When I returned, she still seemed a little disturbed. I got in bed with her and put my arm around her. I told her I was there to help her with anything she needed and that I would protect her. We were mostly silent for almost an hour before she spoke. She sounded more awake. I told her it was after 3:00 and wondered if she would like to get up. This time she agreed. She was at ease again.

I’m not sure I understand why. I do know that “things” in her brain are changing all the time. She can change very quickly. Typically, that happens after she rests. My own guess is that her mind wanders a lot and she begins to have delusions and/or hallucinations, some of which trouble her. In the case of not wanting to get up, being patient often works. Comforting her also helps to shift my role from being the bad guy who wants her to do something she doesn’t want to do to that of a partner who really cares and wants to help. There are still a lot of unsolved mysteries for someone caring for a loved one with dementia.

Something else unusual happened that day. As I was helping her dress, she mentioned that she was going to have a baby “tomorrow.” She often thinks of herself as a much younger single woman and mentions that she wants to have children someday, so I didn’t think much about it until she said something else a short time before going to dinner.

We were looking at a family photo book when she said, “Where is the baby?” Things like this always raise a question for me, “What do I say?” The reflexive answer is always “What baby?” or “We don’t have a baby.” I didn’t think they were appropriate. She obviously thought we had a baby. I saw her stuffed bear sitting in a chair a few feet from us and said, “Oh, he’s right there.”

When I do something like this, I am never certain that what I decided will work, but I felt my options were limited. This time I was successful. I brought the bear to her, and she took it in her arms and held it lovingly like a new mother holding her newborn. We spent the next 15 minutes talking about the baby. At one point, Kate spoke to her (the gender changes frequently) and said, “I love you.” Then she looked at me and said, “Did you hear that, she said, ‘I love you, too.’”

It was close to the time I planned for us to leave for dinner. When I mentioned that to Kate, she said, “What about the baby? I can’t leave her.” Then I dug myself a hole and climbed in. I told her I knew someone who could come over and pretended to make a phone call to him. I didn’t think this through but assumed she would forget before we left. Not so. For the next few minutes she waiting impatiently for his arrival. Then she got worried about leaving the baby. I told her he was a nurse with lots of experience, but she continued to be concerned.

My next attempt to address the situation was to tell her I could call him back and ask if he could meet us at the restaurant. She was fine with that. Once again, I depended on her inability to remember what we were going to do before getting to the restaurant.

She continued to hold the bear in her arms all the way to the restaurant and at least once or twice said something about our meeting the nurse. Fortunately, she completely forgot everything but her baby before we arrived. We got out of the car. She cuddled her bear in her arms, and we walked in.

The hostess took us to a table with just two chairs. I asked if she could bring us another just in case Kate wanted to put the bear in a chair while she ate. She brought one, but Kate continued to hold the bear in her arms. I wondered what she would do when the food arrived. I soon found out. She wanted to put the bear down but didn’t know where. I got up and took the bear and placed him in the third chair where she could see him. That worked. We had a good dinner. When we were through, I picked up the bear and gave him to her, and we walked out to the car. There were no more surprises that day.

(See the post above for Part 2.)

 

Childlike and Tired

On Monday Kate and I had very little contact until 4:30. I got her up at almost 11:30. She was more than a bit confused but didn’t express the kind of fear she sometimes does. Recently, she has been unsteady after sitting up on the side of the bed or the sofa. The day before, she had fallen back on the bed before attempting to stand up. This time I asked her to sit for a moment. I put my hand on her back to support her. Then I helped her up. She got along all right but was very insecure as we walked to the bathroom.

She experienced one of a number of childlike behaviors when we went to the car before getting a takeout lunch from Panera. She noticed a Dr. Pepper baseball cap that she had long ago hung on the knob of a cabinet door in the garage. Periodically, she takes interest in it. This time she was just like a little child discovering something new and exciting. She thought it was a nice decorative touch (my words, not hers) and said she might hang a number of them around the garage.

After lunch, she was ready to rest. That worked out well because I had a Zoom meeting at 2:00, and she fell asleep on the sofa. She must have been quite tired because she didn’t take off her shoes nor lift her feet to the sofa. She just fell over on a pillow from a sitting position and slept until at least 4:30 when I noticed she had opened her eyes. I got up from my chair and walked over to her and asked if she was about ready to get up. She told me not to talk, that she wanted to talk with me later. She looked like she was bothered by something. I said, “I love you.” She said, “That may be the right thing to say but not right now.” I started to ask her to explain, but she cut me off. I took her hand and told her I would be seated across from her if she needed me. When I started to release my hand, she gripped it tightly. I sat down on the corner of the table in front of the sofa. It wasn’t long before it felt too uncomfortable. I started to gently pull my hand away, and she held it tighter. In five or ten minutes, she was asleep. I took a seat close to the sofa and waited another fifteen minutes before waking her for dinner.

Whatever was bothering her faded from her memory like so many other things. It’s another good example of the pattern of her delusions. She may be resting, but her brain is active and doesn’t function the way it did before Alzheimer’s took over. As I have said before, she had experiences like this before sheltering. I believe, however, that the reduction in her activity has exacerbated the problem. I should add that it is not boredom alone that leads her to rest. She is really tired.

Kate Was Up Early Again This Morning

Kate called me at 7:15 this morning just as I was about to begin my walk. She was wide awake. I commented on that and asked if she would like me to fix her some breakfast. She nodded, and I proceeded to get her up and finish her “morninglies” (with thanks to Tom Robinson for introducing me to this term) before heading to the kitchen.

Mornings are her most likely times to be confused. I use that term when she seems bothered by not knowing where she is, who she is, who I am, or what to do. I think insecure was a better word to describe how she was this morning.  As she got out of the bed, she said, “Help me; I don’t know what to do.” . She repeated variations of this multiple times before we left the bedroom.

It is not unusual for her to ask, “What do I do?” when we enter the bathroom. Another time recently, she said, “You’ll have to tell me what to do because I’ve never done this before.” Today, I had to do more than explain. She seemed worried that she would fall as she sat on the toilet. I had to put my arms around her and let her weight rest on them. I supported her until she was seated.

She enjoyed her breakfast of apple juice, a small bowl of blueberries, and two slices of cheese toast. She finished more quickly than usual, and we went to the family room where I thought we might read something. I wasn’t surprised when she looked tired, and I asked if she would like to rest. She said, “May I?” (That is something she says frequently. She also asks if she can take off her shoes. She is very respectful, at least 99% of the time. It is more like I am the “person in charge” rather than her husband. Of course, I am both, so I understand. She generally thinks of me as older than she is. She commented on that yesterday, and I asked how old she was. She said she was eighteen.)

She started resting at 8:40. It is now 10:20, and she is sound asleep. Fifteen minutes ago, she opened her eyes and said something I didn’t understand. This is a day for the sitter. I should have plenty of time for us to have lunch before she arrives at 1:00. I plan to make a quick trip to the grocery and then return home for a walk. The balance of the afternoon I plan to remain at home and work on my computer.

Kate and Breakfast

I’ve lost count of the number of times Kate has had breakfast since we have been sheltered, but it happened again yesterday morning and was especially surprising because of how early she got up.

I got up around 6:30 and went to the bathroom. When I left to get dressed, I noticed that Kate wasn’t in the bed. I called to her and asked where she was. I heard her say, “I’m in here.” She was in the kitchen. As best I could determine, she had been looking for the bathroom. That’s where I took her. She was confused but not disturbed in the way I might have expected.

After finishing in the bathroom, she seemed unusually wide awake. I asked if she wanted to go back to bed or get dressed and eat breakfast. She said, “I don’t know.” I suggested she go ahead and get ready for the day. I think I was motivated by the fact that the past two days, I thought she was going to stay in bed most of the day. Fortunately, I was able to coax her to get up both days. The surprising thing the second day was how quickly her mood changed when she finally decided to get up. At first, she seemed rather resistant. Then I said something (don’t remember what) that got her attention, and she was ready to get up.

She was far more willing to follow my suggestion yesterday. As it turned out, this was a morning when we really did eat breakfast together. The other mornings, I had finished my breakfast and just enjoyed my coffee while she ate. When she finished, I took her into the family room where she wanted to rest. That worked for me because it gave me time to take my morning walk.

The next surprise was her wanting to go home after resting. It was over an hour before I planned to have lunch, so I thought that might make for a restful outing, and off we went. We were back home in just over thirty minutes, and she wanted to rest again. I welcomed that because I purchased a new computer, and that gave me time to setup a few remaining things on it.

This morning I had finished breakfast and my walk. A short time later as I was preparing to upload this post, I heard her say, “Hey, what do I do?” I went to her and found she was wide awake. I got her up and dressed and fixed her breakfast again. When she finished, I suggested we go to the family room. I mentioned Anne Frank’s Diary and asked if she would be interested in my reading some of it to her. It has been a long time since we had done this, so I started at the beginning. We didn’t get too far before she was tired although she seemed interested in the book. She has been resting about thirty minutes and appears to be asleep.

I always try to figure out what causes changes like the increased frequency of getting up so early. I am often left with only speculation. That seems to be the case this time. I do know, however, that it coincides with sheltering. That has affected her sleeping and resting. Some days she rests more than others. One possibility is that she wakes up earlier following a day when she has had more than enough sleep; however, she is ready to rest not too long after getting up. Of course, that is true no matter what time she gets up. One exception was this past Friday when she was awake the entire time the sitter was here. Saturday and Sunday she didn’t get up until around noon when I waked her, and she wasn’t eager to get up then.

There is another explanation that may be related to her sleep pattern. It seems to me that she drifts in and out of sleep more frequently than in the past. That has also been true during the night in the past week or so. I’ll continue to observe as carefully as I can. It will be interesting to see what, if any, other changes occur when (if?) we start to eat out for lunch and dinner again.

Follow-up on Kate’s Sleeping

When I posted my previous update concerning Kate’s sleeping, it was 9:30. She was still asleep. I didn’t make any effort to get her up before 11:00. She was awake and pleased to see me. Her response was strange in that she started to cry. I asked if she could tell me why. She couldn’t, but she was able to tell me she was happy. That made me wonder if she had been awake for a while and didn’t know where I was or what to do.

She wasn’t eager to get up, but she did so willingly. She was very unsteady on her feet and very confused. We got a takeout lunch that we brought back to the house. Her confusion continued while we were eating. She couldn’t identify her hamburger patty, the bun, or the fries. She ate a good bit of the bun, but I think she would have left the patty if I hadn’t put pieces on her fork and fed them to her. The surprise to me (a pleasant one) was that she ate hardly any fries.

When we finished, we spent about thirty minutes looking at one of her family photo books. Then I turned on Phantom of the Opera on YouTube. I was doubtful that she would be interested since it wasn’t just a concert of the music but the full stage production. I was right. I turned it off after fifteen minutes.

She was tired and rested on the sofa for an hour before sitting up. She was confused and said, “Where am I?” I told her she was at home. She said she wanted to “get outa here.” I told her I would take her but wanted to show her a couple of things first. I took her into the hallway to see her pictures of her Grandmother, mother, and her father. She didn’t express her usual interest. She kept saying she wanted to go.

I took her by the hand and walked toward the garage where I intended take a short drive in the car and return home. Before getting to the garage, she changed her mind and wanted to stay. We went back to the family room. She said she was hungry. I got her some blueberries and cheese for a snack. She ate them and has been resting for about forty-five minutes. It is 5:15. We have plenty of lasagna left over from last night. I think I’ll serve that instead of bringing something in. We’ll both enjoy it.

More on Kate and Sleep/Rest

Three months ago Kate wouldn’t get up on a day when the sitter was coming. She was still in bed when I left and also when I arrived home. It was about 4:15 when she finally got up.  There have been at least two other times she has slept until late in the afternoon, once until after 5:00. There have been several other days when she has not wanted to get up but ultimately agreed to do so.

When I tried to get her up yesterday, she was resistant. Pushing her never works, so I decided to let her rest a little more. After several unsuccessful attempts, I decided to encourage her. I told her I wanted to have lunch with her and hoped she would get up. That didn’t work at first, but, with a little coaxing, it did.

It was running close to the time for the sitter’s arrival. I put in an online delivery order from Panera. Kate was quiet but enjoyed her lunch. We were still eating when Mary arrived. When we finished, I took Kate in the family room and showed her several of her photo books she might enjoy. Then I prepared for a conference call.

While I was on the call, Kate went to sleep on the sofa and was still resting when Mary left. I went to the sofa and sat beside her. She continued to rest. I told her it was pizza night and asked if she would like to go with me to pick it up. I didn’t get a response. I decided to let her rest a few more minutes.

In fifteen minutes, I tried again without success. She responded the same way she has done when sleeping in the bed in the morning. She was good-natured and said, “I’ll get up in a few minutes.” The problem is that she never does.

I decided to cook lasagna. No, I didn’t make it. I bought it earlier in the week at a takeout place that has usually has two or three frozen dishes they prepare for times like these. Before eating, I asked if she would like to join me. She didn’t, so I went ahead. I fixed a salad (spinach and arugula with blueberries, tomatoes, and slivered almonds) to go with the lasagna. It was an unusually good meal.

After eating, I told Kate is was time to get ready for bed. She didn’t want to move and asked if she could sleep right there on the sofa. I told her that she needed to get to the bathroom and put on her night clothes and then it would be easier to get in bed. I was surprised when she agreed. She was in bed shortly after 7:30 and quickly went to sleep. She was asleep when I got in bed and slept through the night. I expected her to get up early this morning, but she didn’t make a sound when I got up. She is still sleeping at 9:15.

So, what’s going on? As so often happens, I don’t know. I know that it was a year ago that her sleep pattern began to change. Over that time, it has been less predictable than it was before that time. She has clearly been more tired than she used to be. During the past three months that has increased, especially in the past 3-4 weeks. She is not on her feet much before she wants to rest. That often occurs when I give her a tour of the house. She enjoys herself but gets worn out and wants to sit down. As I have speculated before, this may be a natural process as her body begins to shut down. Her doctor seems to think that might be it. Whatever it is, I suspect the fact that she has resisted any exercise must have exacerbated the problem. The good news is that she has not seemed disturbed or frightened. I am eager to see what happens today.

Adapting to Changes in Kate’s Sleep Pattern

I’ve alluded many times to my OCD tendencies and my adaptability with respect to Kate’s Alzheimer’s. For the most part, I am pretty flexible and don’t experience any anxiety when things can’t go the way I planned. The hardest thing has always been my commitment to be on time. Kate’s Alzheimer’s presents a problem for me. I try to allow plenty of time to have her ready for all appointments and other obligations. This would include those that are self-imposed like having lunch together before the sitter arrives. I had a schedule that was working, but Kate’s recent changes in her sleep/rest pattern have upset things a bit.

Ironically, I’ve experienced more anxiety on the days we have a sitter than on the days we don’t. That doesn’t seem like the way it should be. It really shouldn’t, but the problem for me is two things. I feel a need to have Kate ready when the sitter arrives. It also involves the plans I have made for myself during that time. On Monday, my Rotary club meets at 12:30. The sitter arrives at noon. That works fine unless I’ve had trouble getting Kate up and dressed. This is self-imposed because I wasn’t sure how comfortable Kate would be having the sitter get her out of bed, help her with toileting, and dressing her. I am less sensitive to that now, but I still like for her to up and dressed when I leave.

On the other two days, I generally have more flexibility. The sitter arrives at 1:00. That gives us an additional hour to get ready and eat lunch. In addition, I rarely have any appointments as early as 1:30. That allows me a little extra time. It is not unusual for me to stay as long as fifteen minutes after the sitter arrives. Now that we are homebound, I have spent as much as two of the four hours at home. I could easily get along without a sitter now, but I don’t want to run the risk of losing them should I temporarily discontinue their service.

Several times recently Kate hasn’t gotten up until late in the afternoon. The first day I made a concerted effort to get her up. I didn’t push her too hard but far enough that I got a hostile reaction. I backed away. Since then, I have let her stay in bed as long as she wanted, but it bothered me.

Friday was another one of those days. I took a very non-threatening way of waking her. About thirty minutes before trying to wake her, I turned on music that I hoped might gently wake her. Then I took my laptop into the bedroom and worked on a blog post. I waited for her to open her eyes and see that I was there and then casually spoke to her in a way that she wouldn’t take as the first step to get her out of bed. I was very relaxed. We talked a little, but I didn’t try to get her up. She seemed in a good humor but sleepy. When I finally asked if she would like to have lunch with me, she wanted me to go ahead. I told her I would really like to eat with her but said nothing more. She didn’t move. I told her I would be in the kitchen if she needed me.

This time I believe I really accepted this as part of the natural progression of her Alzheimer’s and not a time for her to change. I’m the one who needs to do that. Having done it, I feel much better. To my surprise, I think the overall adjustments we are making in connection with being homebound have made this change easier than it might have been. It’s been a time when I have fewer obligations even those that are self-imposed. Except when I prepare a meal, our lives are more relaxed.

Since Rotary is not meeting, I have changed the time for our Monday sitter to 1:00 from noon. That and the fact that I don’t have to rush away when she arrives creates a greater feeling of relaxation. Like everyone, I am accepting a lot of things that were not my first choice. Given everything that is happening, fretting over her sleeping seems less important than it was before.