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What Are the Top Symptoms of Elderly Insomnia?

In the United States, approximately 50 percent of older adults experience some level of insomnia. Could your loved one be one of them? The staff at Home Care Assistance of Anchorage suggests you be on the lookout for the most common symptoms of elderly insomnia so the disorder can be treated if necessary and further complications can be prevented.

Difficulty Sleeping

Since insomnia is defined by the inability to sleep, patterns of difficult sleep are often the first signs of the disorder. Take note of the time it takes your loved one to fall asleep, a period that should not last more than 30 minutes on average. Waking often during the night or too early in the morning may also be indicators of insomnia.

Excessive Daytime Sleepiness

Napping is common among the elderly, though an increase in frequency and duration of daytime naps may mean your loved one has insomnia. Warning signs include naps exceeding 2 hours and/or several brief naps throughout the day. Some seniors with insomnia may also reverse their sleep-wake cycles, falling asleep at dawn and waking in mid afternoon.

Irritability

The capacity to manage stress can decrease when accompanied by sleep deprivation. Therefore, older adults with insomnia may show sudden signs of irritability. Feeling anxious may hinder your loved one’s sleep, thus perpetuating the cycle of sleeplessness and stress.

Memory Loss

Studies have shown poor sleep quality is often connected to the inability to concentrate, leading to forgetfulness. Fact-based memory (e.g. telephone numbers), episode-based memory (e.g. a first kiss), and instructional memory (e.g. driving a car) may all be affected if your loved one has insomnia.

Accidents

Lack of sufficient sleep can slow your loved one’s physical reflexes. Decision making skills, timing, judgment, and perception can all be affected by insomnia. The loss of vigilance can result in accidents such as falls and automobile accidents.

Losing too much sleep can be stressful for your loved one and prevent him or her from being safe and comfortable at home. If the symptoms of insomnia have made it difficult for your loved one to accomplish certain tasks around the house, consider hiring an in-home caregiver from Home Care Assistance. We offer live-in and part-time care in Anchorage, and our caregivers can assist your loved one with tasks ranging from transportation and mobility support to medication reminders and companionship. Additionally, each caregiver is trained in the Balanced Care Method, an evidence-based program that promotes healthy lifestyle factors. For more information on our senior care services, call one of our qualified Care Managers today at (907) 770-0907.