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Insomnia: The Caregiver's Role /
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Insomnia: The Caregiver's Role
A growing number of seniors today
face the difficulty of sleep disorders, commonly
referred to as insomnia. Up to 30% of the elderly
experience infrequent sleep patterns, apnea (the
stoppage of breath), and waking up too early.
Insomnia results in depression, constant fatigue, and
even a decline in health in some people. The causes of
sleep disorder are many and varied, including chronic
pain and previous illness, high doses of medication,
lifestyle changes, and anxiety and depression. All can
play a part in triggering sleep loss and unless changed
can damage your loved ones sleep cycle permanently.
Caregivers usually must face a change in their own life
when dealing with insomnia, and while it can be
controlled, it often takes time. If your loved one has
already begun sleeping less and waking up at odd hours,
you may need to seek assistance from health care
professionals who can assist you in the best treatment.
Consider the following:
Check their medication
to see if the side effects include difficulty
falling asleep. You can discuss this with their
doctor. Often it can be as simple as discontinuing
one medication for another that does not have the
Restrict eating and drinking before they go to bed, so
they do not wake up needlessly throughout the night to
use the bathroom.
Make sure they get up around the same time every day so
they can set a pattern to follow.
Make sure they do not drink colas or coffees that have
caffeine and can keep them up at night.
Try to limit smoking to a minimum, as the effects can
hamper breathing at nighttime in bed.
Take them for walks and regular exercise outings.
Instead of watching television, if they are able, you
may advise them to read a book or newspaper to relax