Living with Alzheimer's: Becoming A Recluse Is Not Becoming

Community Member

I need to get out of the bedroom.
I need to get out of the bedroom.
I need to get out of the bedroom.

If I repeat this often enough, it may happen. You think?

I don't know if it's my dementia worsening, or my depression (which often accompanies dementia), or just me...but I am finding myself in my bedroom most of the day. I don't just lay (lie? Never can remember that rule...forget it). I'm not just on/in the bed all the time, comatose to the world. No, I do take a nap once in awhile, but mostly I work on the laptop, watch TV, or read. From time to time, I will leave the bedroom to put the dog out, feed the cat, do some wash, cook some dinner. But as fast as I can, I seem to make it back to the bedroom. My time spent in the bedroom has seemed to slowly increase until it seems that it is my "home base". Rarely do I go downstairs to the family room to sit with my husband in the evenings. When I do, it is because I have forced myself out of the bedroom.

The other day, my husband and I began to talk about this problem. Bill said that it seems that I am in the bedroom most of the time. He said our house is much more than the bedroom; we have a large home with five bedrooms. You would think maybe I'd switch bedrooms sometime, that I'd get tired of the same old "view" of my bedroom...But I don't. How did this all start? When did it begin? Now that I think about it, I believe this behavior began during the winter. I used to sit during the evenings with my husband. Once last winter hit, Bill began using the gas fireplace to warm the room. About the same time, I began having problems being HOT all the time. (This is another story-caused by Diabetes, which I may tell at a later time.) The heat began making me sick, so I began to avoid sitting down there with him. Eventually, we talked about the problem and solved it by either lowering the heat put out by the fireplace or not turning it on at all. Of course, my husband then would sit with blankets on top of him while I sat in the lightest clothes I could find...

I wonder if one's quirky habits just get worse with dementia. I have always loved my bedroom-my bed, in particular. "Always" means since I was a child and my earliest memories. As a very young child, I loved it when my mother would put my brother and me in her big bed and lay down with us to get us to take a nap. She'd use all kinds of tactics to keep us there. I remember her scratching on the wall at the head of the bed, telling us that there were mice down on the, of course, we wanted to stay ON the bed. I remember being put in that same bed and being so very sick with Measles. (Doctors believe it was that severe case of Measles which left me with such poor eyesight.) I can envision myself as an older child, reclining on the bed (see, I skipped using the word "laying" or "lying"!!!), intently reading. Considering my history of feeling so content in my bedroom, and more exactly, on my bed, I wonder if that doesn't have something to do with my current dilemma. I retreat to my room as a means of comfort...

Does anyone have any knowledge concerning dementia affecting areas of previous quirkiness?

Since our discussion, I am trying to stay in other parts of the house for longer periods of time. It's not hard. There's a lot to do in the rest of the house. And, I am making efforts to do chores that take me out into the community. I have set a goal to spend half as much time in the bedroom. I'll start with that. I will go down and watch TV with Bill two nights a week. Later, I'll change that to three nights, etc. I am treating this "bedroom" thing as a bad habit, one that I can break.

Will there come a time when I no longer can analyze what is going on in my life-no longer be able to change? I won't think that far ahead. It's hard enough to figure out what to do right now.