Ever since dad died your elderly mother has had trouble sleeping. Mom sometimes leaves you voicemails in the middle of the night and always seems tired and run down. It’s now reached a point that you’re starting to worry about her health and wellbeing. Millions of senior Americans suffer from sleep disorders, including insomnia. Here are some ways to help your aging parent sleep more soundly.
How Sleep Benefits the Elderly
Sleeping enough at any age is essential for one’s physical and emotional wellbeing. For those aged 65+, sound sleep allows the body to repair itself, strengthens the immune system, and improves concentration and memory. On the other hand, health problems caused by sleep disorders and insomnia are well documented.
A senior with insomnia is more likely to develop depression, experience attention and memory problems and get injured in falls. A chronic sleep deficiency can also exacerbate diabetes, cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer.
Why Do Seniors Have Insomnia?
Due to age-related physiological changes, many seniors have unusual sleep patterns. In general, these are some common causes of insomnia in the elderly:
Stress. Stress induced by a major life event, like losing a spouse or selling the family home, can trigger insomnia.
Medications. Some prescription drugs for heart failure, elevated cholesterol or high blood pressure, along with over-the-counter meds for joint pain or inflammation, can cause insomnia.
Chronic pain or illness. Health conditions including arthritis, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, benign prostatic hypertrophy and asthma can keep seniors awake.
Sleep disorders. Restless leg syndrome or sleep apnea can also interfere with normal sleep patterns.
Lifestyle choices. Abusing alcohol, napping too much during the day, eating right before bed and a lack of physical exercise are all lifestyle choices that keep aging adults from sleeping.
Sleep Inducers for Older Adults
Whether they’re having trouble falling asleep or not sleeping enough, here are some ways to ensure that your aging-in-place senior can overcome insomnia and get plenty of rest:
Set the right mood
For many older people, sunlight is a sleep disrupter. Make sure that your senior’s bedroom has room-darkening curtains that block out the sun all hours of the day and night. Further ensure a more sleep-friendly environment by eliminating noise and buying them a more comfortable mattress if their old one is worn out.
Follow a sleep schedule
Notably for someone with dementia, following a set sleep schedule is important. Encourage your parent to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, and to avoid excessive napping during daylight hours.
Bedrooms are for sleeping
Sometimes too many distractions cause insomnia. Bedrooms are for sleeping and not to be used as a living room or office. Tactfully remove the TV and computer desk from your loved one’s bedroom and find them some good books or magazines to read instead.
Encourage them to exercise
Physically tired bodies crave sleep. Not only will exercising for 20+ minutes several times a week help your parent sleep more soundly, doing so will also benefit them in many other ways. However, they should avoid exercise within three hours of bedtime because the resulting adrenaline rush could keep them from falling asleep.
Create a bedtime ritual
Taking a warm bath before going to bed helps calm down a senior physically and emotionally. Other things to incorporate into your parent’s bedtime ritual include prayer and meditation, reading a book or stretching out their entire body.
In-Home Sleep Assistance for Seniors in Los Angeles
Helping an aging parent get the sleep their body so desperately needs isn’t always easy. When you need a hand contact New Wave Home Care. While serving as an extended family in the home, our experienced caregivers can provide your senior with the sleep assistance that’s needed so they can enjoy a higher quality of life. As a licensed home care provider, we use a unique approach that’s all about compassion and connection, delivered with an added personal touch that allows our clients to experience a degree of joy.
Our compassionate professionals go above-and-beyond in their dedication to providing care for others, while making a difference in the lives of those we serve. We support clients and their families with personalized in-home solutions like personal care, transitional care, specialized care, respite care, medication reminders, dementia and Alzheimer’s care and hospice support. To learn more about New Wave Home Care now, or to schedule a FREE in-home assessment for a senior in Pasadena or the greater Los Angeles area, please visit us at: www.newwavehomecare.com!