Dementia refers to a general impaired ability to think, remember and make rational decisions. Dementia is most likely to affect seniors, however, it is not a normal part of ageing, and in most cases is caused by the disease Alzheimers.
If you're looking to find out how to keep dementia patients in bed at night then there are a number of ways to do this. There are several reasons that those suffering from dementia may leave their bed at night, such as confusion or pain. This can lead to falls, which in seniors can be fatal. Those getting up at night for things like going to the toilet and getting a drink are normal, but there are a number of ways that dementia patients wandering at night can be minimised, and therefore the risk of potential trips and falls is reduced.
Address medical sleeping issues
As people age, the quality of sleep can worsen. This can be due to a number of reasons, such as restless legs syndrome and sleep cycle issues.
Many people with dementia are likely to sleep during the day, this can make it more difficult to get proper night-time rest and can cause elderly dementia patients to become restless and want to wander around during the night.
Sleep apnoea can also reduce the quality of sleep, leading to sleep during the day and exacerbating sleep schedule issues.
In a domestic and care home setting, addressing these issues head-on can increase the quality of sleep and therefore reduce night-time wandering.
How to keep dementia patients in bed at night
When looking at how to keep dementia patients in bed at night, lifestyle factors should be considered and addressed if needed. Consumption of alcohol and caffeine, excessively or just before bed, results in poor and intermittent sleep. Caffeine keeps people awake and, in elderly dementia patients, this can cause wandering.
Some people consider alcohol to be helpful for sleep as it is considered a sedative, and although alcohol can help people initially get to sleep, the sleep itself is of lower quality. Alcohol consumption can cause disruption to the four stages of the normal sleep cycle, resulting in sleep that is not able to properly repair the body. On top of this, excessive consumption of alcohol before bed can result in frequent trips to the toilet, thus increasing the risk of trips and falls during the night.
Another lifestyle factor that can impact sleep and cause the quality of sleep to decline is physical exercise. As people get older they are likely to become more sedentary, however regular exercise leads to higher quality uninterrupted sleep. Although it can be more difficult for an elderly dementia patient to safely incorporate exercise into their day, there are a number of safe ways to do so. Of course, it is completely dependent on the patient's capabilities, but some ideas to get patients moving are yoga (which can be adapted to chair yoga), gardening, or just going for a walk.
As someone gets older, and especially if they are suffering from dementia, it is likely that they will have to take more meditations. Some medications can cause daytime drowsiness or can be diuretics which can negatively influence sleep. For these medications, it may be better to swap for different times of day, or just ask the patient's doctor about alternative medications with ingredients less likely to affect sleep.
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Make sure the environment is set up for quality sleep
Making sure the dementia patient has a soothing and comfortable environment to sleep in can work wonders for reducing night-time wandering. You should make sure that disruptive lights are kept to a minimum (though a soothing night light can help reduce falls if a trip to the toilet is needed).
Sound can also cause disruptions during sleep, having double glazing can help reduce outside sounds, and carpeted flooring can also muffle unwanted noise.
Temperature is also important to keep dementia patients comfortable in bed, and stop wandering around at night for blankets or to change the thermostat. Though there are fluctuations for specific people, a comfortable sleeping temperature is usually between 15.5 and 19.5 degrees Celsius.
Make sure the patient's bed is safe and comfortable
A good quality bed is more important than people give it credit for, especially for seniors suffering from dementia. Everyone is different, and a good way to increase the quality of sleep and therefore reduce wandering in patients is to have a bespoke bed with a mattress that is changed the recommended 6 to 8 years. At Reinforced Beds, we offer robust and bespoke bed options for a number of challenging behaviours. We have been supplying care homes and nursing homes with bedding solutions for a number of years, and can also supply domestically.
There are a number of factors to consider when choosing a bed that keeps a dementia patient comfortable at night, and therefore safe. Those that shop with us can also benefit from free delivery, competitive prices and a heavy-duty guarantee.
In many cases, a standard-sized bed will be adequate for a senior suffering from dementia. However, if a patient requires a bariatric-sized bed then it is important that this is provided or comfortable sleep for the dementia patient can become difficult.
Are side rails needed?
A way to keep dementia patients in bed is to provide side rails. There are a number of bed options for dementia patients that can be fitted with side rails for safety.
Maintain a homely feel
It is important that a bed for a dementia patient doesn't feel like a hospital bed. Having a bed that makes the patient feel safe and at home can reduce confusion and therefore wandering at night.
For any questions regarding what bed set-up would be best to keep dementia patients in bed at night don't hesitate to get in contact with our team at Reinforced Beds today.