Resources, Tips, tools & skills, Toward better care

need more sleep? here’s a care partner tip that might help…

Catherine Bixenman-salesi, who is a member of the online dementia support group USAgainstAlzheimers, is the primary care partner to her mom who lives with Alzheimer disease. Catherine regularly shares innovative, interesting and easy-to-implement “work arounds” to address the challenges she faces interacting with her mom. See more of Catherine’s tips at the end of this post.


One thing that exhausts many dementia care partners is lack of sleep.

Long-time care partner Catherine Bixenman-salesi found a way to get more sleep every night, AND keep her mom safe and secure. Here’s what she shared with me and others in a Facebook support group:

I just figured out how to set my mother’s baby monitor alarm clock feature. Now, I can get some sleep and not worry about over sleeping when it’s time to toilet her. In the middle of the night, I can just look at the monitor to see if she is sleeping soundly. Or, if she starts to get anxious, I can talk to her using the monitor without having to get up.

When I talk to her, she sits up and listens to my voice. Sometimes I put the lullaby mode on, and she sleeps soundly. I love this gadget! I should have purchased one years ago. The camera works great. I put the monitor on my nightstand and I can watch mom from my room. I wish I had bought the monitor years ago. I spent so many nights sleeping in her room on the floor or in her bed – not to mention all the times I got up to check on her and then couldn’t go back to sleep!

The brand I have is Willcare, but there are loads of others. I chose this one because it’s simple. You plug the camera in an outlet, and you can point it where you want to see. Then plug in the monitor wherever you are. You must have WiFi (smart phone not required). It’s extremely easy to use. I can see mom on the screen. I leave it on all the time. It makes a sound when she turns or starts to move. I push a button, and i can talk to her and she can talk to me.

I bought the monitor on Amazon about a year ago, and it really has allowed me to get a few hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. I can’t tell you how many times I would get up to make sure my mother was breathing.

I read a lot of reviews, and chose one that I thought would be simple and easy to use. I don’t have a smart phone, but there are ones you could use with your phone. It can also be used unplugged for a few hours. The alarm clock can be set to ring every two, four, or six hours. I encourage all caregivers to buy one. You can find them on line here, just read the reviews, and choose one you like. I hope this tip will help someone else.

I wish I had thought of this when I was living with my mom in her own home — I might have gotten more sleep too!

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