If your elderly family member feels tired constantly, she’s not alone. Millions of people suffer from something called chronic fatigue syndrome, and March is National Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Awareness Month. Learning as much as you can about CFS can help you and your senior to figure out the best way for her to manage the impact of this condition on her daily life.
Differences Between Being Tired and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Everyone gets tired, especially after strenuous activities, but if your elderly family member is tired continually or finds that sleep isn’t refreshing to her she may be battling chronic fatigue syndrome, or CFS. This health issue is one that usually doesn’t have a medical cause associated with it, and it might be difficult to diagnose. Many people who live with CFS may not even seek help for it because they just think of it as being tired a lot. Stress and other health issues can make CFS more pronounced for your senior.
Contributing Factors for CFS
Fatigue that lasts longer than six months is considered chronic, and there are some contributing factors that your elderly family member might also experience. Your senior may be grieving a loss, either in terms of someone she cared about or even a significant health issue, and that can lead to fatigue. Psychological factors such as depression and anxiety can also make CFS worse. Chronic health issues, like high blood pressure or diabetes can also contribute to CFS.
Lifestyle Factors Leading to CFS
Although CFS isn’t necessarily caused by lifestyle factors, there could be some things your elderly family member is doing that don’t necessarily help. Having caffeine too late in the day or having too much caffeine is one such factor. Eating a diet that doesn’t give her body what she needs or not moving enough can also be a problem. Some of these issues are ones that personal care at home can help your senior to manage, making it easier for her to adopt habits that support her getting successful rest.
What Can Your Senior Do?
There are a few things your elderly family member can do, starting with talking to her doctor. Determining if there is an underlying medical cause for her fatigue is crucial. From there, your senior may want to become more physically active, assuming her doctor agrees. She may also want to start keeping a symptom diary to help her track how she’s doing. This is something else that caregivers can help her to manage. Having personal care at home can also allow your senior to rest more during the day, engaging in activities like reading or listening to music rather than trying to push herself to do too much.
Managing chronic fatigue syndrome can feel complicated, but adopting a few of these strategies can help your elderly family member to put together a plan that helps her to get the rest that she needs. Over time, she may feel that the rest she gets is more restorative.