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[Advice needed] Father in law goes to the toilet several times a night and gets confused

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[Advice needed] Father in law goes to the toilet several times a night and gets confused

My father in law goes to the toilet several times a night. Sometimes, after flushing, he gets confused and just sits there for a long time, almost catatonic, until someone comes and talks to him.

 

He’s in his 70s and has middle stage-dementia (I think Frontal Dementia is what he is suffering from, although it’s hard to know for sure since it’s tied to a brain surgery he had about 15 years ago and the doctors have been hesitant to put a definitive diagnosis). 

 

For over a decade now he would go to the toilet several times per night. His surgery left seriously affected his mobility, but he is still able to walk on his own, albeit slowly. There is a night light near the entrance to the bathroom and he never really misses the way or has any issues actually getting there. 

 

Yet in the last few weeks we are facing this new issue: about once every 2 or 3 nights, immediately after flushing the toilet he would get confused. (He usually turns on the light, but sometimes he uses the toilet in the dark. Regardless, this does not appear to make a difference ). So he just sits there, sometimes silently repeating to himself stuff like “What do I do now”, while others blankly staring at the wall. The moment someone comes and talks to him he makes eye contact and snaps out of it. He then heads back to bed. 

 

Did anyone ever face anything similar? I read a lot all over the internet about old people not being able to find the way to the toilet, but almost nothing about finding the way back. Someone suggested getting a commode. But there is an issue with this as well: he has a night pot that he uses sometimes, but then he decides to go to the bathroom empty it. And once there he might get confused, like I described above.

 

This is taking a toll on the family, as every time this happens someone has to wake up and bring him back. He is never violent or aggressive and the issue only happens at night. During the day he is still jovial and aware of his surroundings. But he doesn’t seem to remember that these things are happening to him during the night.

 

So I guess this is a double question: a) Have you been faced with something like this before b) Is there a way to convince a person with dementia to start using a night pot or commode every time if for years their routine has been to go to the toilet?

 

Looking forward to your answers.

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@Gary88T398173 wrote

This is taking a toll on the family, as every time this happens someone has to wake up and bring him back. He is never violent or aggressive and the issue only happens at night. During the day he is still jovial and aware of his surroundings. But he doesn’t seem to remember that these things are happening to him during the night.

 

So I guess this is a double question: a) Have you been faced with something like this before b) Is there a way to convince a person with dementia to start using a night pot or commode every time if for years their routine has been to go to the toilet?

==========================

To me, It does sound like it still has something to do with the lighting - maybe / perhaps.

Don’t think it would matter where the toilet is - bathroom or bedside - 

You could try better lighting in the bathroom - like a higher wattage motion or dusk-to-dawn light to see if that helps him.

 

However, for safety reasons it seems somebody in the family may need to accompany him just to make sure that he goes and comes without incident - that may be setting up some type of alarm system to notify you that he is on the move - perhaps a baby monitor.’  If you accompany him without interference, you might be able to see what is actually going on - 

 

Sounds like he may drift off or is in a momentary trance  - wonder if an intercom would help and not scare him but would prevent the family from having to get up - I don’t know - still sounds like he may need to be monitored when he gets up to make sure he returns to bed.   

 

There is always the solution of hiring a sitter at night - especially if you feel the problem is getting worse or he becomes unstable on his feet at night.

 

I sometimes think that as elderly parents age,  they begin to develop things which they themselves had to solve when their children were babies - in this case - “taking a toll on the family, as every time this happens someone has to wake up”  So sometimes, this is just a time of paying back what they once did for us as babies.

 

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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