Dementia changes so much about your senior’s world and how she perceives it. When you add sleep issues to the mix, dementia symptoms can become more pronounced.
Help Her to Adjust to a Solid Sleep Schedule
A good sleep schedule is one in which your elderly family member gets up around the same time every day, needs few or no naps, and is able to wind down and get to sleep around the same time every night. Ideally, her overnight sleep would also be long enough for her to feel rested. It might be that your elderly family member has had poor sleep hygiene for a while now, so it can take some time to help her to adjust to a more helpful routine.
Plan Her Day Carefully
It also helps if your senior’s daily schedule is active, but not too active. There needs to be a careful balance. Pay attention to when she’s got the most energy. Some people take a little while to fully wake up for the day, so her energetic activities might start around mid-morning instead of first thing. When you’re helping her schedule to flow with her energy, that can help a lot.
Start Winding Down the Day Early in the Evening
If your senior is trying to just go to bed from her regular daily activities without any sort of transition period in between, she may have some serious difficulty with sleeping. It’s much better for her to have a wind-down period during which she slowly starts readying her body and her brain for sleep. Some of the things she might want to do could involve activities that relax her and that help her to start moving toward actually getting into bed.
Watch Caffeine and Other Stimulants
Stimulants, including caffeine, are particularly problematic for sleep. That’s especially true if your senior is ingesting these later in the day. Your senior might be sensitive to other foods, drinks, and ingredients, so it might be helpful to keep a food diary and pay close attention to sleep at the same time.
Consider Getting Help Overnight
Something else that might help your elderly family member is to have help overnight. Senior care providers can help your elderly family member during nighttime hours, which can be helpful for her and for you if you both live in the same home. So often family caregivers lose sleep because of their senior’s sleep issues and that can cause big problems for both of you during the day.
Managing your senior’s sleep issues is so important for both health and overall wellness.