Caring for My 100 Year-Old Mother


Doctor Marion,

I am the caregiver of my 100 year old mother. She is up and down at night going to the  bathroom, but in the day time she  doesn't have to go. Is there anything that will allow her to sleep??? And seems to have developed restless leg syndrome. I have taken her off all medication except  her blood pressure medicine, and has helped some. I hope you can give me some suggestions--all our doctor wants to do is give her more pills, which she has NEVER ever been a pill taker.  Thank you.

Sis in Ohio, 72

Dear Sis,

I’m sure that taking care of your 100 year-old mother takes a lot of time, energy, and attention to detail, so I applaud your efforts. Her going to the bath room at night but not needing to go in the morning or during the day suggests that her days and nights are mixed up, and that needs to be corrected.  Often a senior is not getting enough sunshine during the day. We each need at least 30 minutes per day. This gives us the necessary vitamin D, and just as important, the sunshine sets our internal clock which we need to function properly. Also, in daylight we see other adults, children, animals, trees, and flowers. Being out and about helps us stay connected to people and reminds us that we are part of the community. Please discuss this with your mother’s doctor. Sometimes being in public makes an individual want to interact with other people more often, and this can help normal patterns reemerge.

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