Monthly Archives: June 2018

Dementia Related Sleep Issues Eldercare

5 Ways You Can Improve Dementia Related Sleep Issues

It can be very challenging to watch a loved one suffer from dementia.  A caretaker can feel very powerless over the changes that happen to a dementia patient.  A big challenge can be that the patient suffering is unable to communicate what problems they are having physically, because they have lost the ability to express their needs.  

According to the sleep experts at Tuck Advanced Sleeping, “Accurately diagnosing sleep disorders in dementia patients can be quite tricky, due to an abundance of underlying causes, mitigating factors and common causal symptoms”.  When looking at patients with dementia, there are usually four categories that the disturbances fall within:

  • Trouble falling or staying asleep (insomnia)
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)
  • Difficulty breathing during sleep (apnea) or excessive nighttime physical activity (such as – restless leg syndrome)
  • Nocturnal hallucinations and/or behavioral problems

In addition to medications and treatment, there are steps that dementia patients can take on their own to effectively mitigate the symptoms of different sleep disorders. Tuck Advanced Sleeping shared their top 5 ways you can help improve dementia related sleep issues. These include:

  1. A consistent sleep schedule: In order to maintain regular circadian patterns, dementia patients should strive to fall asleep and wake up at the same time every day. Adapting to a sleeping and waking schedule may be difficult at first, so they are encouraged to set alarms and force themselves out of bed at predetermined times in order to get on a healthy track.    
  2. Outdoor and photo light therapy: Exposure to natural sunlight will help elderly people realign their circadian rhythm and reduce the effects of sleep disorders like insomnia and CRSDs. Studies have also found that light therapy can improve sleep patterns for people with Alzheimer’s disease. If patients are unable to spend time outside, then they can utilize specialized lamps outfitted with bright lights.
  3. A customized diet: While a nutritious, balanced diet is essential for any healthy person, elderly people with sleep disorders can supplement their meals with foods that help them sleep. For instance, calcium (found in milk, cheese and other dairy products) is known to trigger melatonin and induce sleepiness. Oatmeal and other grains achieve the same end by raising blood sugar, which can lead to sleepiness. Alternatively, people with dementia-related sleep disorders should avoid excessive amounts of foods, drinks and substances that hinder sleepiness; these include alcohol, tobacco and caffeine.
  4. Physical activity: While many elderly people are unable to exercise as rigorously as their younger counterparts, even light physical activity can lead to higher levels of sleep. Patients with dementia-related sleep problems are encouraged to walk in moderate amounts during the day. Nighttime stretching can also be helpful.
  5. A healthy sleep space: Creating, and maintaining, a healthy sleep environment is crucial for mitigating the symptoms of dementia-related sleep issues. Beds should be reserved for sleep and sex, and patients should avoid other activities in bed, such as eating or watching television. Additionally, bedrooms should remain dark and relatively quiet during normal sleep times; keep the blinds drawn, and adjust the temperature to ensure comfort throughout the night.   

To view the full Dementia and Sleep Disorders Guide, click to the Tuck Advancing Better Sleep Guide

Has the senior in your life created their estate plan yet?  It is important to have a plan in place to make sure their assets are protected in order to maintain living a full life.  We have the expertise in creating the right plans for all our clients. If you want to learn more, reach out to us today. Click to contact us

6 Ways To Help Sleep Deprived Seniors

6 Ways To Help Sleep Deprived Seniors

As we begin to age, our bodies change, and we become more susceptible to sleep issues.  This can be due to any number of reasons including chronic illness or medication use. Seniors are very susceptible to developing insomnia, and it is an issue for more than half of people over the age of 60.

Some of the warning signs that a senior is suffering from sleep deprivation are:

  • Taking at least 30 to 45 minutes to fall asleep
  • Waking up in the middle of the night on multiple occasions
  • Waking up at a relatively early hour and being unable to fall back asleep
  • Feeling exhausted and unproductive the following day

There are ways you can help to improve your sleep hygiene and help your body to have a normal circadian cycle of sleep during the night.  The experts at Tuck Advancing Better Sleep, have shared with us the 6 practices you can use to help sleep-deprived seniors.

 

  1. Pick a sleep schedule and stick to it. Be sure to go to bed and get up at the same times every day, even on the weekends.
  2. Stay active during the day. Daytime napping can significantly affect your overall quality of sleep. Physical activity, on the other hand, will help you wind down at the end of the day and feel more tired when you retire for the night. Manage your day accordingly, but try to avoid any strenuous exercise within three hours of bedtime.
  3. Get some vitamin D. Vitamin D has proven to improve sleep quality. You can boost your vitamin D intake by spending just 30 to 60 minutes in direct sunlight, and those who live in colder places can take vitamin D supplements.
  4. Don’t drink anything before bed. Alcoholic beverages can exacerbate the effects of insomnia and other sleep disorders. Other fluids before bedtime can cause problems for people with incontinence, as well. Keep fluid intake to a minimum for an hour or so before bedtime.
  5. Take a bath before bed. The warm water can aid thermoregulation, since your body temperature will drop after leaving the tub and you will feel more tired in the process.
  6. Convert your bedroom into a sleep sanctuary. Make sure your bedroom is reasonably dark and properly ventilated. Also avoid bedroom activities that hinder sleep, such as eating, watching television or using electronic devices. Be sure to get out of bed if you’re unable to fall asleep after 10-20 minutes, and only return to bed when you become tired. Basically make sure your mattress is just used for sleep. This will help train your body to fall asleep more quickly.

To view the full Sleep and Senior Aging Guide, click to the  Tuck Advancing Better Sleep Guide

It’s important to take notice of any changes in a senior’s sleep pattern, to make sure and address the issue as soon as possible.  These strategies are great ways to help someone on a daily basis. It’s always necessary to check with their doctor if you do notice any changes, and develop a personalized plan that works for a senior based on their individual issues and history.

Has the senior in your life created their estate plan yet?  It is important to have a plan in place to make sure their assets are protected in order to maintain living a full life.  We have the expertise in creating the right plans for all our clients.  If you want to learn more, reach out to us today.  Click to contact us