Top 5 Sleep Issues Commonly Found in Seniors

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Common Sleep Disorders in Older Adults in Montgomery, AL

Sleep is important at any age, but it’s even more essential for older adults because they tend to benefit more from the recuperative effects of high-quality sleep. But for some older adults, enjoying sufficient sleep is easier said than done if a sleep-related disorder is involved. Below, you’ll find five common sleep disorders in older adults along with some tips for helping a senior loved one address such issues.

1. Insomnia

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) suggests nearly 25 percent of older adults may experience insomnia. It’s a problem because an inability to get to sleep or stay asleep has been associated with fatigue, depression, cognitive decline, and many other health concerns in seniors.

Possible solutions include:

  • Asking your loved one to keep a sleep journal to show the doctor
  • Encouraging meditation, deep breathing, and similar relaxation techniques
  • Sticking to a regular sleep schedule
  • Creating a comfortable, quiet sleep environment
  • Planning activities for your loved one during the day to minimize daytime napping

2. Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by repeated breathing interruptions. A study cited in the journal Sleep suggests sleep apnea is a condition that can be even more risky for older adults. It can also contribute to excessive daytime sleepiness, and it’s associated with an increased risk of stroke, heart disease, and a diminished quality of life.

Possible solutions include:

  • Doing a home sleep test and sharing the results with your loved one’s doctor
  • Trying positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy
  • Wearing oral appliances while sleeping

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 homecare services 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 (RLS)

The NIH estimates the prevalence of restless legs syndrome in adults 65 and older ranges from 10 to 35 percent. RLS is a sleep disorder that can affect sleep because of random and distracting itching, aching, or other unpleasant sensations. The exact cause of RLS is unknown, but it may be related to dopamine and iron levels. The condition could affect seniors by contributing to insomnia, anxiety, or daytime sleepiness.

Possible solutions include:

  • Talking to your loved one’s doctor about medication for RLS
  • Taking baths and getting massages to relax leg muscles
  • Engaging in regular moderate exercise
  • Applying warm or cool packs to legs

4. Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD)

If repetitive limb movements are experienced during sleep, your loved one may have PLMD. The NIH suggests roughly 45 percent of older adults may live with this condition. Movements that could affect legs, toes, ankles, knees, or hips sometimes make it difficult to stay asleep through the night, although some seniors may not find it too bothersome.

Possible solutions include:

  • Talking to your loved one’s doctor about medication
  • Minimizing the consumption of caffeine-containing products like chocolate, tea, coffee, and soft drinks
  • Avoiding antidepressants if possible, since these drugs could worsen PLMD

When you understand the causes of your loved one’s sleep issues, you can be better equipped to help him or her sleep better and enhance his or her overall wellbeing. Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional senior care. Montgomery, AL, 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. Snoring

Some estimates suggest up to 40 percent of older adults are regular snorers. While snoring is sometimes only a nuisance to bed partners, it may also contribute to sleep apnea and other breathing issues or the development of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Snoring seniors are also at higher risk for developing an irregular heartbeat, or arrhythmia.

Possible solutions include:

  • Using a sleep apnea pillow or CPAP (continuous airway pressure) machine
  • Losing weight
  • Side sleeping instead of back sleeping
  • Treating underlying sinus or nasal issues

If you’re the primary family caregiver for a senior loved one livin in Montgomery, live-in care is available if your loved one’s health has become too difficult to manage without professional expertise. At Home Care Assistance, we take measures to help seniors prevent illness and injury by assisting with exercise and mobility, preparing nutritious meals, helping with bathing and other personal hygiene tasks, and much more. For compassionate, reliable in-home care, trust the experienced professionals from Home Care Assistance. Reach out to one of our dedicated Care Managers today at (334) 593-3988 to learn about the high quality of our in-home care services. 

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