Your father has dementia and lately, he has been increasingly disoriented. Previously, he slept through the night, but recently, he has been awake numerous times throughout the night and your mother isn’t getting any sleep. When you saw your parents on the weekend, you were shocked at how exhausted and aged your mother appeared.
Your parents need overnight care to ensure your father’s safety and care throughout the night, while also ensuring that your mother’s health is not compromised. She may say “I was up through the night nursing four babies, I can handle interrupted sleep,” but that was over 50 years ago. It is much more difficult to operate on interrupted sleep in your 80’s than in your 20’s.
Overnight shifts ensure that a caregiver is present throughout the night. Any time your father is up, the caregiver will attend to his needs. He likely needs reassurance if he is confused about where he is, or if he is looking for someone.
The caregiver will provide that reassurance and redirect him back to bed if he is willing. If he remains awake and he is pacing, the caregiver will walk with him and aim to redirect him to the living room where he can settle in his favourite lazy-boy chair.
Every time he awakens, the caregiver will attend to his needs and reassure him. Throughout the night, your mother is able to sleep peacefully knowing that her husband is being well-cared-for and that he is safe.
There are many different situations where a night shift can make a big difference for clients and their families.
Here are some of the common situations where we assist:
High falls risk
Someone with dementia is awake throughout the night
Night shifts start in the evening and last until morning; the start and end times can be customized to match your parents’ schedule. If the shift starts early in the evening at 6 or 7 pm, the caregiver can cook dinner or tidy the kitchen after dinner. The caregiver will assist your father with the evening routine of changing into pyjamas, brushing teeth, toileting, etc.
In the morning, the caregiver will help your father to get out of bed and complete his morning routine: bathing, dressing, personal care, grooming, etc. The caregiver will make breakfast, and if time permits, may help with some household tasks to ensure your parents’ day is off to a great start.
In this case, the night shift provides direct hands-on care to your father, but it is your mother who will feel the most relief. With proper, restful sleep, she will have the energy to get through the day without compromising her own health or having reduced patience. She may even appreciate the help with household tasks that a caregiver can provide at the beginning or end of a night shift.