- Marlene is 80 years old with a heart condition. She is often tired for most of the day, often falling asleep around 6:00 p.m. in her chair. She then wakes up around 9:00 pm and goes to bed but doesn’t fall asleep right away. After tossing and turning for many hours, she wakes up at 5 because she can’t lie down any longer.
- Roger, age 78, has been waking up at 10:30 pm, 1:00 am and again at 4:00 am to use the restroom for a few months now. He feels exhausted and struggles to maintain focus and alertness during the day.
- At age 74, Cora rarely feels sleepy. She claims she only needs about 5 hours of sleep and if she stays in bed too long, her back and shoulders start to hurt. To help her not feel too drowsy during the day, Cora enjoys taking a long nap in the afternoons.
Insomnia is one of the most common reasons why elderly adults struggle with obtaining quality sleep. When seniors have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep, family caregivers need to make an effort to help. Without proper sleep, elderly adults can suffer from physical and mental health issues like memory loss, weakened immune system, lethargy, lack of focus, and depression.
After taking their aging loved one to a doctor to ensure there are no medical reasons for their insomnia, many family caregivers hire a home care provider to be with the elderly relative. Having someone around in the night to help with everything from controlling the environment to supporting them for bathroom breaks makes it easier than ever for elderly adults to get a good night’s sleep.
It’s important that family caregivers and home care providers that work during the day do what they can to encourage the elderly adult to avoid doing things in the day that might negatively influence their sleep that night. This includes avoiding naps during the day and being as active as possible. Then, when it is time for bed, the senior is naturally tired and will sleep deeper and longer. Other things to avoid are caffeine and alcohol too close to bedtime.
Home care providers can make sure the bedroom is darkened and at a comfortable temperature. Some seniors enjoy a light, healthy snack before bed or even a glass of water or milk. They can help the elderly adult get into bed and make any adjustments to bedding and pillows that are needed. The home care provider can also assist in controlling the noise, such as using a while noise machine or taking care of a noisy dog.
Family caregivers that want to do everything they can to ensure their aging loved one gets a good night’s sleep should look into hiring a home care provider for both a day shift and especially a night shift. Often, just knowing someone is there to take care of them gives seniors enough peace of mind to sleep the night away.