After seniors retire, they might enjoy dozing off during the day, and those naps typically aren’t a sign of an underlying health issue. That being said, some researchers now believe excessive napping could be closely tied to Alzheimer’s, which is why all caregivers should keep an eye on their aging loved ones’ sleeping habits. Here’s a closer look at the link between excessive napping and Alzheimer’s and some signs your loved one might need to speak with a neurologist.
Alzheimer’s & Napping
One recent study published in the journal Alzheimer’s and Dementia found there might be a link between excessive daytime napping and Alzheimer’s. In this study, researchers inspected the brains of 13 people who had passed away after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Those researchers focused on the network pathways within the brain that are responsible for wakefulness, and they found people with Alzheimer’s tended to have damaged pathways. As Alzheimer’s progresses, it creates a type of plaque that can damage key pathways in the brain as well as the brain cells themselves.
Excessive Napping Defined
Every senior has slightly different sleep patterns, which means there isn’t going to be a certain number of minutes when napping becomes excessive. As a general rule, you should try to keep an eye on your loved one’s napping schedule so you can spot sudden changes. Many older adults take one or two naps every day, and dozing off once or twice typically isn’t a major problem. If your loved one is now taking more naps or can’t seem to stay awake throughout the day, you might want to consider getting a doctor’s opinion.
If your loved one is excessively tired or sleepy during the day, he or she may need assistance with the tasks of everyday living. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of in-home care. Tucson families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia.
Other Causes of Excessive Napping
Daytime napping is perfectly natural for many people, and that habit isn’t necessarily caused by any health issues. When seniors begin to nap excessively, they could be facing any number of medical problems. Some of the most common causes of daytime sleepiness include sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, heart disease, and diabetes. Your loved one’s medication could also have a huge impact on the quantity and quality of sleep he or she is getting. Older adults who are experiencing daytime sleepiness should spend a little bit of time boosting their overall health to see if that helps.
If your loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, compassionate help is just a phone call away. There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to address if their families opt for professional homecare services. You can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep your loved one safe and comfortable while aging in place.
When to Screen for Alzheimer’s
Catching Alzheimer’s in its earliest stages is very important, which is why family caregivers should always keep an eye out for the early warning signs. In addition to excessive napping, you should also be wary of any sudden cognitive changes. Your loved one might begin to face difficulty with long-term memory or problem-solving abilities if he or she is slowly developing Alzheimer’s. This disorder can also impact the ability to hold a conversation or carry out relatively simple everyday tasks.
Aging in place can present a few unique challenges for older adults. Some only require part-time assistance with exercise or meal preparation, while others are living with serious illnesses and benefit more significantly from receiving 24-hour care. Tucson, AZ, Home Care Assistance are leaders in the elderly in-home care industry for good reason. We tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual needs, our caregivers continue to receive updated training in senior care as new developments arise, and we also offer comprehensive care for seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s. If your loved one needs assistance with the challenges of aging, reach out to one of our knowledgeable, compassionate Care Managers today at (520) 214-5440.