When Samara Howard recently dropped off her elderly mother Johnnye Jennings at a three-day camp for people with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia, it was the first night she’d been away from Jennings in seven years.
“Normally, I only sleep maybe two hours a night because she wakes up and she wanders and she turns on the stove,” says Howard, who eventually had to quit her job to take care of her mother full-time.
“I haven’t slept through the night in years.
You hear these stories of exhaustion and frustration often from the families of the roughly 5 million Americans who have Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. Confusion, wandering and agitation are common with dementia, and usually any break in the daily routine only increases those reactions.