Top 5 Sleep Challenges for Seniors

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Older adults need seven to nine hours of nightly sleep. However, as seniors age, they often experience changes in sleep patterns. For instance, they may have difficulty falling or staying asleep. Statistics indicate more than 40 percent of seniors experience insomnia for various reasons. Different types of challenges deprive seniors of much-needed sleep. However, there are ways to address the problems. 

1. Circadian Rhythm Alterations

It’s not uncommon for older adults to feel fatigued earlier at night and rise earlier in the morning. The sleep pattern difference is referred to as advanced sleep phase disorder and occurs due to changes in the body’s circadian rhythm. The change may also cause seniors to sleep fewer hours at night. The lack of sleep may lead to health problems. The disorder has been treated using bright light therapy to correct the body’s natural rhythm. 

2. Sleep Apnea

An estimated 37 million adults snore on a nightly basis. Chronic loud snoring has been associated with sleep apnea. During the night, a senior may stop breathing for up to a full minute, followed by gasping for breath. The episodes cause blood oxygen levels to drop. Older adults may experience the events with varying frequency throughout the night. Unusual daytime fatigue is often the first sign of insufficient sleep. If their sleep apnea is left untreated, older adults have an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease or cognitive impairment. Evaluations and sleep studies performed by healthcare professionals can determine the underlying cause to adopt a treatment plan.

Seniors can face a variety of age-related challenges. Though some families choose to take on the caregiving duties, there may come a time when they need a trusted home care service provider. Families sometimes need respite from their duties so they can focus on their other responsibilities, and some seniors need around-the-clock assistance that their families are not able to provide. Home Care Assistance is here to help.

3. Restless Legs Syndrome

This neurological disorder causes creeping, tingling, twitching, or other sensations in the legs. Statistics show up to 45 percent of seniors experience some degree of restless legs syndrome. Healthcare providers may suggest various treatment options. For some seniors, the syndrome occurs secondary to an iron deficiency or decreased dopamine levels. Correcting the imbalance can offer relief. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, physicians might also prescribe pain medications, muscle relaxants, or nerve-calming agents. 

4. Chronic Pain

Seniors living with arthritis or autoimmune disorders that affect the musculoskeletal system commonly have difficulty falling and staying asleep due to ongoing pain. A treatment regimen created by a physical therapist may offer relief. Gentle, moderate, or non-weight-bearing exercise may alleviate stiffness and muscle tightness for some. Physicians might also recommend a combination of prescription pain medication and antidepressants to reduce discomfort.

When you understand the causes of your loved one’s sleep issues, you can be better equipped to help him or her get high-quality rest. Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional senior home care. Tucson, AZ, Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life.

5. Genitourinary Disorders

Weakening of the bladder muscles often occurs with age. As such, seniors are more likely to eliminate urine frequently, which necessitates waking during the night. Older adults may not sufficiently empty their bladders when using the bathroom. The remaining urine may harbor bacteria that proliferate in the warm, moist environment and cause an infection that requires frequent urination. Older men may develop prostate problems that also affect the ability to urinate. 

Every senior has different needs when aging in place. Some simply need occasional assistance with household chores, while others may be managing serious illnesses and require more extensive live-in care. Tucson seniors can count on Home Care Assistance to provide the in-home care they need and deserve. Call one of our friendly Care Managers today at (520) 276-6555 to learn more about our customized care plans.


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