Insomnia doesn’t just affect young adults. Sleeping disorders are also prevalent among the elderly, who often have difficulty sleeping due to biological changes, medical conditions, and other issues. Here are a few things you need to know about insomnia in older adults and how to help them sleep soundly throughout the night.
Diagnose the Root Causes of Insomnia
If your senior loved one is having difficulty sleeping at night, uncovering the source of the issue is the first step. Start by assessing your loved one’s health conditions. The poor sleep may be a result of nighttime complications and medication side effects. If insomnia doesn’t seem to be a result of an existing medical condition, consider your loved one’s emotional health.
Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality home care. Anchorage families trust in Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably.
Understand the Relationship Between Emotional Health and Insomnia
Many people with insomnia also experience depression, and this emotional health issue often goes undiagnosed in seniors. If your loved one seems chronically sad or starts to withdraw from society, it may be a sign of depression. In the event your loved one experiences depression along with a poor quality of sleep, he or she should consider cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT is one of the most effective solutions for chronic insomnia, especially for seniors with depression and other emotional health issues.
Learn About the Link Between Menopause and Insomnia
Insomnia can also result from the biological changes that come with age. For women, the hormonal shifts that accompany menopause can wreak havoc on the sleep schedule. After menopause, the body produces less progesterone and estrogen. Progesterone regulates sleep, and limited supplies of this hormone can make sleep a challenge. For women with menopause-related sleep disorders, treatments include hormone replacement therapy, low-dose antidepressants, and the supplement melatonin.
Caring for older adults with sleep disorders can be a challenging task. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Anchorage, AK, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity.
Promote Good Sleep Hygiene
When seniors are living with insomnia, practicing good sleep hygiene is essential. Even if their insomnia is the side effect of a medication or related to an emotional health issue, seniors should try to establish healthy sleep habits. First, seniors need bedrooms optimized for slumber. The temperature should be cool, the lights should be off, and the noise should be kept to a minimum.
Older adults should also avoid eating and drinking right before bedtime. If they eat a large meal just before they head into bed, the digestion process could keep them up all night. Caffeinated beverages should also be avoided for several hours before bed.
Consider Additional Treatment Options
If your loved one has chronic insomnia, seek help from a medical expert. Your parent may be given prescription sleep aids such as non-benzodiazepines, but these are usually a temporary fix. Doctors may recommend over-the-counter sleep aids for long-term use, or suggest natural therapies that regulate the production of sleep hormones. Medical experts may also recommend cognitive behavioral therapy, which helps seniors break out of unhealthy behaviors.
Older adults can stave off insomnia by making healthy lifestyle choices. If your aging loved one needs help managing everyday tasks or encouragement to adopt healthier lifestyle choices, turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of elderly care. Anchorage Home Care Assistance provides professional in-home caregivers around the clock to help seniors live longer, happier, and healthier lives. To create a comprehensive in-home care plan for your elderly parent, give us a call at (907) 770-0907 today.