Is it normal for a person with dementia to close her eyes the whole day while being fed, exercised and laid down to bed? At other times, the person with dementia is wide awake while being fed, walking, listening to stories of the paid caregiver. Is this a cycle with people who have dementia?
Dementia patients often become more and more lethargic and tired as the disease progresses. Sometimes patients can sleep all day and then be up all night or vice versa. Often, they seem to just sit quietly, either in a type of daze or possibly with their eyes closed. Their brains are working double time and it can wear them out to the point of exhaustion. There is also the possibility that light might be bothering their eyes. They could be sensitive to the light, especially if it is bright or shining directly into their eyes. Looking for outside sources of discomfort can help when behaviors change suddenly or with little explanation.

33 thoughts on “Is it normal for a person with dementia to close her eyes all day?

  • Connie Roeder

    My mother in law has both Dementia and Altimers she has been yelling allot but she hardly ever opens her eyes

    • Monica

      My mom does the yelling out too. She just told me, “It’s silly. I should be able to open my eyes if I want to.” It’s so hard to see her like this.

  • Diane

    Yes now mom doing it more and more. Is this going into later state of dementia? Although with eyes closed she still listens and at times react with smiles or laughter. We love to say something to get her to react. We all laugh when we can break through and get her to respond.

    • Anne

      Hi All! My mom with dementia just started keeping her eyes closed. She appears to be sleepy but it kind of came “out of the blue.” I am not sure if this is associated with her diagnosis or is there something else is going on? She is a dementia unit @ a nearby nursing home… I visit often and I am on top of her care. Hopefully, I’ll know a bit more in the coming days what these symptoms are all about!

  • Anne

    Hi All! My mom with dementia just started to keep her eyes closed when speaking. She did appear to be sleepy but it kind of suddenly came “out of the blue!” Not sure if it’s associated with her diagnosis or it related to something else?

  • Patty

    Hello everyone, my husband just started sleeping all day and most of the night. He does it open his eyes at all even to eat. He is also very internally preoccupied, sometimes yelling. This change seemed come overnight.

  • Carol Ramsey

    My Mom has started to keep her eyes closed most of the time. Up most of the night & sleeping all day. Tonight she seemed belligerent, started opening her eyes around 4:45 PM & proceeded to call me (her daughter) by her Sister’s name. She was completely wild and saying all sorts of stuff. So unusual.

    She too has dementia and Alzheimers. So sad.

  • Joanne

    My mom completely changed in two weeks . She kept her eyes shut and would start to eat imaginary food.Then she would be shouting .It’s truly an awful disease.xx

  • m

    My mom has started to keep her eyes closed all the time. The doctor is over medicating her with Haldol. She went to new PHC in October. Before she was walking and had a healthy weight. She was talking and enjoyed the small things in life. Within a week at the new place everything has gone downhill. They have given enough drugs that prevent her from walking therefore making her bed or wheel chair bound. I think that the drugs is contributing to her condition. In her old PCH( no daily drugs) she would walk the halls for exercise,was talkative and within a month at the new place she lost her ability to walk(unstable on her feet due to the drugs) and in addition she no longer opens her eyes. After a nap she awoke and continued to have her eyes closed( tiered?). The staff could not provide a reason why… is a sad disease, but even sadder the you cannot get any explanation. I feel the drugs have also contributed to this conditions-poor quality of life in Manitoba. Drug them until they die.

    • Deepak

      I found a similar thing happened to my 95 yr old dementia suffering mom , after she was given fluoroquinolone based antibiotics.

    • Becky

      My mom was sent from memory care assisted living to a psych facility because she was “too restless” and into everything. They gave her so much medication after 4 weeks there she no longer walks or even sits unassisted, and they told us we needed to put her on tube feeding. But we have detoxed her at hospice and she will eat and drink if fed. The rest has not come back and her eyes are shut 99% of the time. They got what they wanted: she’s not restless anymore.

    • Barbie

      My mom isn’t in a home and sadly she is slowing down. Just recently she is closing her eyes a lot. If we didn’t give her the meds, she’s very angry and try’s to run away. It’s an ugly disease. My heart breaks to all who have love ones with it. I really dread that my children may have to deal with me having it.

    • Moni

      That’s so common. Home Health Care is now heavily suggesting hospice while failing to treat minor issues.

  • Deepak

    I found a similar thing happened to my 95 yr old dementia suffering mom after she was given fluoroquinolone based antibiotics.

  • Sabu

    My mom is not open her eyes in last 20 days not eating food also
    Please suggest me the symptoms of last stages of alzheimers

  • Lisa Ellerbrock

    My father keeps his eyes closed all the time and will not communicate with us but he knows everything that is going on.He will open his eyes like a possum and close theme soon as we look at him when we leave the room?they say he has Parkinson’s. So confused

  • S

    MIL sleeps most of the morning. But when walking to the dinner table ( we make her walk for exercise) she walks head down eyes closed. She sits and eats with eyes closed…..she does most things with eyes closed and head down. Like her head is to heavy! And always accompanied my moaning and groanin.
    Then in the afternoons she starts “ Sundowning”. Up and down like a YoYo, mumbeling, stuttering and so on. If we don’t respond to any mumbles it turns into a constant stream of Please Please please.
    She used to be so active and gung ho……I hate seeing her like this
    It’s a horrid horrid deseas

    • Monica

      I feel your pain. Mother has Alzheimer’s dementia as well. She declined rapidly once she returned home from a five day hospital stay to treat a severe UTI infection. She returned home with pressure ulcers and deep tissue wounds. She’s unable to communicate as well as she did. One should leave the hospital better than they entered. It’s so hard to see how she is suffering. Is there a doctor that can tell us what symptoms can be cured and what is dementia related?


    Hi All, Mom had emergency surgery 2 weeks ago and ever since she came out of anesthesia, she’s had her eyes closed. She says shes tired. Speaks with us, sometimes confused. Before surgery, she was stage 4 ALZ but it seems to have progressed. Is this a sign that it’s worse or could it be temporary due to the surgery? has anyone experienced this?

    • davalynn schleeter

      Hi there. I am so sorry
      I have experienced this. My mom is stage 5/6 now. She broke her hip during stage 3/4 (in 2017) and it took a while to see what her new normal would be. The anesthesia takes a toll and it takes a lot longer to get out of the body. Same thing happened when she broke her femur last year (Jan 2019).. she never really got back to her previous normal either time. Get her to drink plenty of water and eat plenty of fresh fruit and nuts, if she will. Whole foods and water will help, I promise. Good luck to you all.

    • Karen gore

      Hi just wondering if your mum has improved?
      My mum has had surgery two weeks and hasn’t opened her eyes since.

  • Cindie

    My mom has been keeping her eyes closed much of the time now too, even tootling around in her wheelchair like a little bumper-car, which is amusing, yet sad. I personally feel as though it is her way of closing out extra stimuli , making her feel in control, safe and comforted. Much like a child who hides their eyes and then thinks you can’t see them because they can’t see you, mom hides behind closed eyelids when she doesn’t want to deal with something like taking a shower or taking her medication. Because she suffers from profound hearing loss too, it is her little retreat. I know her brain is working extremely hard and she is very tired.

  • Bradford Stephens

    My wife has MS, Fabry, two episodes of Congestive heart failure due to Fabry, and now easily aspirates. She can’t stand, must be cath’ed four times/day, I induce her bowels daily, bath her in bed, dress her, brush her teeth, and now feed her, noticing while chewing her eyes were always closed. She swishes all liquids before swallowing, but food’s another matter, and easily chokes, thus, small bites. Recently she was also diagnosed with Dementia, and I’m reaching out as to what the future holds. We’ve been married 50 years, and I retired at 63, now 72 to be her full time care giver. Is there anything positive ahead? Thanks.

    • Jac

      My dad succumbed to AD 6 months after he fell down from staircase. A fall is a big issue for AD patient. Before the fall, he still can walk. After the accident, he has progressed to last stage of AD, keeping his eyes closed most of the time, even during feeding time. Eyelids seems to be very heavy or stiff. During the last stage of AD, condition seems to deteriorated very fast. Hit by pneumonia.. and passed away due to Sepsis with multiple organ failure. So sad to see him suffered from the illness. He is a good father. Missed him a lot.

  • Elia A Corchado

    My mother too has begun to close her eyes for most of the day. She’s only 69 years old and the past 3 weeks and 5 days, she’s been through a lot, with an 11 day hospitalization due to gallbladder surgery & a blood infection, followed by a 13 day stay at a SNF. Two days prior to being hospitalized my mother walked and had her eyes open and ever since her hospitalization she couldn’t keep her eyes open for most of the day.. does anyone know why this is? Any advice is welcome. Thank you

    • Geraldine Noble-Gough

      I believe most of the people mentioned in these cases have something called Hypo Active Delerium ( not Hyper Active Delerium) It will take too long to explain it here. But it’s easy to find information about it on the internet. My mother who is 92 has had HAD periodically. She kept her eyes closed all the time. It’s possible to bring them out of it. But takes a lot of time and patience plus a lot of perseverance .

  • Manju

    Can anyone tell me whether there is any improvement in the condition of Alzheimer’s patients who start keeping their eyes shut? Is this temporary? My mother who is 88 and has been a dementia and Alzheimer’s patient for almost 8 years, has of late started shutting her eyes for short periods. Today she has hardly opened them. Reading the experiences here has helped to understand that this is a part of this disease. But wondering what now?

  • Lorna Paterson

    I’m thinking in my mum that it’s either a result of motor control loss or more likely that she is hallucinating so much that she doesn’t know whether her eyes are open or shut. When we ask her if her eyes are OK when she has them shut she says they seem to be working fine although it’s unusual to get a coherent response.

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