This has been a long time coming when it probably should have been obvious...
There are nights that I can do absolutely nothing to help Mom sleep. Absolutely nothing. I believe that sometimes the disease is stronger and more determined than anything that I can do to help her. There is just no other explanation for the random effectiveness of the remedies we have been using. There are some nights when everything fails and she is that shiny, silver ball bouncing around inside the pinball machine... totally at the mercy of those flappers and the disease is at the controls.
We wait for the nights that Alzheimer's offers its rare mercies. The times when Mom sleeps unassisted for most of the night. Or the evenings that Mom is tired and just needs a little nudge towards sleep. These are the occasions when our nights seem almost normal.
If the situation only involved Mom and me, the solution would simple. I would just sleep when she does. But, in spite of Alzheimer's, I have a family and a life that doesn't allow me to sleep at 7 p.m. Or start my day hours before dawn.
So, I will continue to catch sleep as I can. All while listening for the bells of the pinball machine as the ball bounces around the house.
-Mom trying to sneak a nap. I allowed her to sleep just long enough to snap the picture.