How to Address Sleep Problems in Seniors with Alzheimer’s

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How to Address Sleep Problems in Seniors with Alzheimer's

Sleep problems are one Alzheimer’s symptom you may need to address as a family caregiver. Seniors in general tend to have difficulty sleeping, but Alzheimer’s disease adds to the challenge by altering comfort levels and behavior patterns. Sleep problems are best handled by using several different strategies to get your senior loved one to relax and sleep through the night. 

Start a Routine

People with Alzheimer’s disease can feel disoriented as they go about their days. A routine can minimize confusion, and it also sends cues to the brain when it’s time for rest. Sticking to a routine should involve regular times for going to bed and waking up so your loved one knows what to expect at those times of the day. 

Caring for senior loved ones can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Assisting Hands Home Care for the help they need. We provide high-quality respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.

Plan for Daily Physical Activity

Older adults sometimes don’t get enough exercise to burn off their energy, which can lead to difficulty falling and staying asleep. You might also see signs of a lack of exercise if your loved one wakes up extremely early in the morning after only a couple hours of rest. Add about 20 to 30 minutes of exercise to your loved one’s routine around midday to give his or her body time to wind down before bedtime. 

Expose Them to Light during the Day

For some seniors, exposure to sunlight works wonders for helping their bodies adjust their circadian rhythms for sleep. Seniors who stay indoors may need to have the curtains opened so sunlight filters inside. However, it’s best if you can take your loved one outside each day. As bedtime nears, draw the curtains and dim the lights in the house so your loved one’s body recognizes the changes that accompany evening. 

There are many reasons seniors might need assistance at home. Some may require regular mental stimulation due to an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, while others might only need part-time assistance with exercise and basic household tasks. Assisting Hands Home Care is a leading Frederick elderly home care provider. Families rely on our expertly trained caregivers to help their senior loved ones maintain a high quality of life.

Watch Out for Medications

Many Alzheimer’s medications are known to cause insomnia. The doctor might be able to recommend a different one if the sleep problems are so severe that your loved one doesn’t get any rest at all. The physician may also suggest giving your loved one medication with lunch or an early dinner so it’s less likely to affect sleep.

Learn to Handle Night Wakings

Your reaction to your loved one’s night wanderings makes a difference in how well he or she sleeps. You need to turn on lights for safety purposes, but try to choose ones that emit soft light. You should also minimize your frustration and talk to your loved one in a soothing voice as you quietly offer assistance. Then take your loved one back to bed after addressing whatever issue woke him or her up. 

Do Soothing Activities at Bedtime

Avoid stirring your loved one up in the evening, when he or she may already be sundowning. Choose quiet activities such as working on puzzles instead of watching action-packed movies or upsetting news stories on television. You could also offer your loved one a massage or a warm bath. 

Alzheimer’s can be challenging for seniors to handle without assistance, and it can be just as challenging for families who don’t have experience in providing Alzheimer’s care. Frederick Assisting Hands Home Care provides Alzheimer’s care seniors and their families can depend on. Our caregivers are dedicated to helping seniors with Alzheimer’s and other memory-related conditions live happier and healthier lives. If you need professional home care for your aging loved one, our Care Managers are just a phone call away. Reach out to Assisting Hands Home Care today at (301) 786-5045.