When was the last time you slept a healthy amount? Many people assume that as you grow older, sleeping becomes easier. Have you noticed whether your aging loved one is sleeping more during the day? It is likely because they are making up for lost sleep during the night. Old habits are hard to break (for example, staying up late and sleeping in). As a person ages, the internal body clock changes. Some seniors go to sleep early and rise early, but most seniors go to sleep late as they did in their youth...and then wake up early! This can cause sleep deprivation. There can be many other reasons why seniors are sleep deprived (some reasons more serious than others). Let's learn more!
Common sleep problems are sleep apnea, insomnia, restless leg syndrome or otherwise due to an underlying medical problem. As we know, lack of sleep can also cause character differences, agitation, anxiety and stress. That is why it’s crucial to address these issues with professionals. Many hospital doctors may provide a sort of sleeping pill but those aren’t always the healthiest options. Sleeping pills can be addictive and are known to taper off over time, creating a need for stronger dosage, and therefore becoming an endless cycle. With personalized, hands on care, PAN caregivers can modify the need of medication and approach sleep issues by adjusting lifestyle.
Creating a consistent environment for your loved one is key for them to live their best life. Some of the ways our caregivers can help get your loved one on a healthy track are creating routine check ins and ensuring opportunities for companionship.
Example: How In Home Care Can Help Seniors Develop Healthy Sleep Habits
Jeri was stuck in a trend of watching TV until 2am and rising at 6am. Though still living independently, her family agreed that she could use an encouraging outside force to help get her back on schedule since her family members couldn’t visit during the weekdays. Jeri received in-home visits twice a day, two times each week. In the morning after breakfast, Jeri and her helper would discuss and journal about her pre bedtime activities, and quality of sleep and dreams. Small adjustments like reading before bed instead of watching TV proved to help her with getting better sleep over time. Sometimes Jeri and her caregiver would meal prep, go to the post office, do laundry, and throughout the day Jeri would find time to go on walks and enjoy the sunshine. After making dinner, her caregiver would learn about Jeri’s daily activities and start the bedtime routine of listening to relaxing music, brushing teeth, grooming before bed, and then reading or meditating to fall asleep. Over time, Jeri didn’t need as much companionship after her mind and body adjusted to the routine...though she preferred to continue with her caregiver once a week for accountability purposes. Her family noticed that with the new routine and normal sleep cycle, Jeri seemed happier and more like herself.
When dealing with sleep deprived loved ones, know that there are many options to try before relying on medication. Just like anything else, it takes time, patience, and sometimes help to create new healthy habits! At PAN, our caregivers are skilled at creating a healthy, positive environment for your loved one to have improved quality of life. Contact us with questions - we would be honored to help your family!