Anyone who has struggled with sleep issues, or insomnia, can attest to the utter frustration you feel when a few hours’ sleep is all you want, but you can never seem to get.
Since changes to our sleep patterns are a normal part of the aging process, you can understand why sleep issues are a common complaint among seniors receiving elderly care.
Because it becomes more difficult to both fall asleep and stay asleep as we age, many seniors report being less satisfied with sleep and more tired throughout their day.
According to one poll, 44% of seniors experience one or more of the nighttime symptoms of insomnia a few nights a week or more, which can be chronic and last over a month, or acute, which lasts only a few days or weeks at a time.
Sometimes, as research has shown, bouts of insomnia seen in seniors can be traced to physical and psychiatric illnesses and the medications that are often used to treat them.
There are many medical conditions that can contribute to insomnia, such as chronic pain, including chronic fatigue syndrome, congestive heart failure, acid-reflux disease (GERD), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, sleep apnea, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, brain lesions, tumors, stroke, and others.
Unlike many people tend to believe, the need for sleep does not decline as we age. Research has shown that our need for sleep in fact remains constant throughout all of adulthood.
That is why it is important to help seniors in elderly care with healthy habits that can create better sleep for them which can be advantageous to their overall health and well-being.
Modifying or incorporating certain habits, such as limiting daytime naps, avoiding caffeine or other stimulants as well as nicotine and alcohol, limiting liquids around bedtime, and developing an exercise routine coupled with a structured sleep schedule can all help to create better sleep for your senior in elderly care.
Other simple ways to inhibit an atmosphere conducive for sleep is to increase bright light exposure during the daytime hours, avoiding heavy meals before bedtime, minimize excessive noise in the sleeping area, and develop a meditation practice. If you have hired professional elderly care for your senior loved one, be sure that their caregivers are aware that you have certain requests for your senior to help facilitate an easier sleeping routine, which they can help with.
Talk to your senior’s healthcare practitioner if you are not seeing results with home remedies and your loved one is still struggling with sleep issues or insomnia.
There are medications that can be prescribed if other things are not working, however some medications have side effects that are important to be aware of. In geriatric patients, long-acting benzodiazepines can have adverse effects, like memory impairment, excessive sedation, and even falls and fractures. Long term use of other medications used to treat people over the age of 75 for insomnia can lead to confusion and apathy and can even mimic dementia so be sure to ask questions before starting a prescription sleep remedy plan.
If you or a loved one are looking for experienced Elderly Care in Vienna, VA, contact SenCura at 703-880-2547. Providing in-home senior care in Northern Virginia.