Common Sense Caregiving

The Dreams and Night Terrors of Dementia

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Hi Folks,
Please enjoy this week's article and always feel free to share it wherever you believe it is needed.

The Dreams and Night Terrors of Dementia
Recently, I had an interesting conversation with someone very close to me. (This friend requested anonymity.) He wanted to discuss the odd dreams that he has experienced since he began living with dementia. First, he explained in great detail how difficult it is for him to differentiate between dreams and reality. Next, he proceeded to describe his most recent haunting dream that had him confused and concerned. In this nightmare he was extremely upset that he had left his oven turned on for two and a half days. What troubled him the most was . . . was it truly a dream? He claims the only way he’ll absolutely know for sure is when his electric bill arrives in the mail and he tries to figure it out by doing the math.
I have no doubt that, when living with dementia, one’s dreams become exceptionally vivid. Just by this man’s facial expressions I could tell how surreal this dream was to him and how bewildered it had left him. He emphatically explained to me that this used to be a rare occurrence but now it’s as common as putting on his shoes.
Experience has taught me that all dementia-related diseases will cause problems discerning between reality and dreams, leading to an assortment of sleep disorders.
For instance, a common symptom attached to Lewy Body dementia is night terrors, mainly brought on by REM Sleep Disorder. It is common for patients to hallucinate and act out their nightmares in their sleep by kicking, punching and sometimes even screaming for hours. I have several close friends with this disease and a common description from them is that they feel as if they just fought through a 10 round boxing match. They wake up completely confused, exhausted and suffering from body aches. Tranquil nights are rare for those with Lewy Body. Many have said, “I’m afraid to lie down at night because I know what’s coming.”
A few years back I was the keynote speaker at a dementia seminar in Wisconsin. During my presentation I invited a friend I knew was living with Lewy Body (and is a member of Dementia Mentors) to join me and speak to the crowd. He stood up and asked those in attendance, “Have you ever seen the movie Chucky?” He astonished everyone by stating, “The doll portrayed in that movie is what I see running around my house, awake or not.”
We now know that these night terrors may actually begin around 10 years prior to diagnosis, even before any signs of cognitive issues present themselves.
So, if you witness your sleep partner exhibiting signs of these terrors don’t be surprised if dementia shows up on his or her horizon. It is essential for the primary physician to be notified of this history immediately, possibly preventing a misdiagnosis which could lead to improper medical care.


Being a Car Passenger with Dementia


Barry Pankhurst describes what it's like to ride as a car passenger with dementia.
  Dementia Mentors' Videos!

Upcoming Speaking Events

Below is a listing of my upcoming
seminars and training events.

If you love my writings, you’ll love my speaking events. I have learned it’s best to not only educate people on dementia through their minds, but through their hearts.

If you're not in the the Florida area, i
nvite me to come to your area or put me in contact with someone in your area to schedule an Dementia Care Seminar or train your staff above and beyond like anything you've seen before!

Hernando County Sheriff's Department
Dementia Awareness Class
Brooksville, Florida
July 11th  8:30 am

Church of God in Christ (Dade City)
Dementia Care Seminar
14626 7th St.
Dade City, Florida
July 13th 9:00 am

The Oaks at Avon
Dementia-Related Diseases and Care
1010 U.S. 27
Avon Park, Florida
July 16th. 11:00 am

Cobblestone Manor Assisted Living
Dementia Care Presentation &
Meet and Greet
208 Cobblestone Dr.
Spring Hill, Florida
July 19th, 5:30 pm

Florida's Health Care Activity Coordinators Associations Annual Conference
Dementia Awareness Class
Rosen Plaza Hotel
Orlando, Florida
July 25th

Halifax Healthy Living Center
Dementia Care Seminar
280 Wolf Pack Run
Deltona, Florida
Aug. 7th 2:00 pm

Florida Attorney General's
Elder Crime Practitioner Course
Dementia Awareness Class
Altamonte Springs, Florida
August 14th

Alzheimer's Music Festival
Woodstock, Georgia
Sept. 15th

Pasco County Sheriff's Department
Dementia Awareness Class
Shady Hills, Florida
Sept. 18th. 1:00 pm

Hernando County Sheriff's Department
Dementia Awareness Class
Brooksville, Florida
Oct. 10th 8:30 am

Western Kansas Alzheimer's Assoc. Conference
Dementia Hospital Wristband Program
Wichita, Kansas
Nov. 14th

Superior Residences of Clermont
Dementia Care Seminar
1600 Hunt Trace Blvd.
Clermont, Florida
Nov. 21st


Available on Amazon,
my books on dementia care

Managing Alzheimer's and Dementia Behaviors
Care Edition)


Also don't forget to go to and check out our short amazing videos all done by those living with dementia and the rest of the website.

Stay strong everyone!
Gary Joseph LeBlanc, CDCS    
Copyright © 2018 Common Sense Caregiving, All rights reserved.

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