Getting him to have a daytime nap proves impossible!

Hi everyone. My dad is in his early 80’s and has Parkinson's. He lives with my mum who tries her best to care for him, but it’s really taking its toll. He is often apathetic and unwilling to do anything to help himself or others. Nothing sinks in. I know this is a symptom if the disease, but I’m just wondering if anyone has any advice or tactics on getting him to respond?

The two big issues are his refusal to have a daytime nap (which has proven to be hugely beneficial on the occasions he has done it) and his obsession with paperwork (I know there are worse things to obsess about but it’s just taking up most of his time and the paperwork itself doesn’t make any sense or have any use!)

Also… do you think that video recording him when he is at his worst and showing him when he is at his best would be helpful, or maybe make him feel depressed? (He doesn’t have any depression symptoms)

Thanks for any advice! I gave my mum the help-line number to call if she needs someone outside the family to talk to.



Just a thought:

does your Dad like listening to music? or the radio? or books recorded on CD's? 

He may rest - even if not sleep if he could be encouraged to do something like that that focuses his attention and who knows he may even fall asleep while listening. Just listening to but not watching something is more relaxing and so is often more restful......

As to the paperwork - you could just let him do what he wants and don't  worry about the relevance or necessity of it... My Mum used to constantly re-organise the organised and shuffle papers,  in the end I left her to it - I then was more relaxed about it and talked with her about how good her systems were. What had become stressful for me watching her ( as you describe in you post) turned into a topic of conversation about something that had become an important job for her....



Hi Keld, thanks - thats a nice idea with the audio book. He used to read a lot but now he gets double vision. I will suggest it,  but I wonder how he would know where he left off if he keeps falling asleep (and he will!) 

Maybe it won't matter....especially if it is a book he knows and loves.....and if the idea is to encourage him to have a rest and a nap....then ???

One tactic I used at times when my Mum was being apathetoc and lethargic was to turn on the radio/TV as I was leaving after a visit, and then she would say she didn't want to listen and I would then say "well get up and turn it off if you don't want to listen" (In the nicest possible way...) and then later, sometimes she would say that she had listened for a bit and then enjoyed it.   OR I got a right ticking off the next time I visited but I would steel myself for it, and decided that it was better than her being quiet and down and apathetic. hey ho!


Hi Sheldon

Have you thought about how your Dad feels when he's told to have a nap.  Maybe this is his way of having a little independence.  I'm sure he loves and appreciates what you do for him but maybe he needs to feel in control sometimes and I wish he could come over to tidy up my paperwork.  There is so much, we couldn't entertain in our front room! 

I hope I haven't upset you because that was certainly not my intention but I was just looking at things from your Dad's point of view - or maybe not.

all best wishes



Hi Cassie, 

I appreciate the feedback, but I always try and think from my dad's POV, and I totally understand his need for independence. But when he doesn't have his nap he is a total mess for the rest of the day, limiting what he can do with his independence, and what my mum can do too.

He really is beyond the point now of thinking logically for himself. If he doesn't nap he is a danger to himself, straining his relationships, and cant do anything. Yet his brain isn't logically thinking "I need to nap so I can function today".

Also he is getting quite snappy and angry with people when they inevitably have to do that logical thinking for him. 


ps he doesn't tidy up paperwork, he creates it ;-)


Hi Sheldon,

I'm not being facetious in anyway but I have the opposite problem; trying to keep my husband awake as he will sleep all day and I do mean all day; he is just 65. If you  dad's brain is working so well that he feels that he doesn't need to sleep maybe that is a positive, especially at his age. If you dad is  functioning well enough to be determined in what he wants or needs to do then please put up with the few unwanted consequences of  his decisions. The opposite situation is not one to be embraced.

If, by creating paperwork you mean unnecessary 'stuff' then just accept that it pleases him to do this.I wish that my OH was interested in something, anything. Be grateful that you still have your dad, even if he is at his best for only  some of each day.

Hi Benji,

It isnt that he is not tired. Sometimes its hard to even get him upstairs he is so tired. But he tries to resist it. We only want him to sleep for an hour around 1pm. You would be amazed at the difference that makes to his behaviour and productivity in the afternoon and evening. If he doesn't do it, he is staggering around, falling over, talking to himself, hallucinating, and  causing a huge amount of stress for my mother, and of course a danger to himself. My dad does sleep a lot too on the sofa, sometimes even while he is eating. But my issue is the midday sleep. Its an hour that he sorely needs.

Yes Im ok with the paperwork. Its not ideal but Im ok with it if he is happy.

Only your Dad actually knows what he needs. He may not be tired, just frozen, so it’s difficult for him to get upstairs. Why not a nap on a sofa when he wants it not when you deem it timely.?Forcing him to do something that he doesn’t want to do is a dicey situation even if you have a POA. PWP still have rights.