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My mother is 85 now, and she has been getting rapidly worse over the last year or so, with many health conditions that are associated with the elderly. However one thing that really concerns me is that she seems to be falling asleep in weird places at random times. Narcolepsy has crossed my mind. Can the elderly suddenly develop this condition?

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Hi there. I have narcolepsy and I'm a psychology major and have done research on this. Usually, narcolepsy arises in the 2nd or 3rd decade of life, but it is not uncommon for a person to go decades undiagnosed (about half are diagnosed after 40). The key here is whether she has exhibited symptoms before, milder than this so they may have been less notable. For example, if she exhibits excessive daytime sleepiness or cataplexy attacks (likely mild in this case). I would recommend having her get a sleep study done/consult with a sleep doctor. Also, Parkinson's disease can often present narcoleptic-like symptoms. But she would also be experiencing problems with her muscles like tremors, stiffness, etc. That would seem very unlikely though, I'm just putting it out there. She may also very well have sleep apnea which can cause enough sleep deprivation to cause sudden bouts of sleep if it's extreme. Hope that helps! Good luck.
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