Dementia-related sleep issues involve things such as being unable to fall asleep at night. Seniors with dementia may also wake up frequently or have difficulty waking up early. While this can be frustrating for you as a caregiver, you can help your senior loved one sleep better at night by using these strategies.
Treat Sleep Apnea
Many older adults with dementia also have sleep apnea. If your loved one snores or seems excessively tired during the day, arrange for a sleep study to be performed. Your loved one can then utilize treatments that help him or her breathe properly through the night, which may prevent your loved one from waking up frequently because of poor breathing.
Discuss Medications with the Physician
Medications can both help and hurt your loved one’s sleep patterns. Some medications are known for increasing anxiety and energy levels. Find out about the side effects of the medications your loved one takes. Then ask the physician if your loved one can take those that cause sleep disruptions earlier in the day. Your loved one may also benefit from a mild sleeping aid such as melatonin. However, you need to take precautions to protect your loved one from harm, since many sleeping medications increase grogginess, which could pose a risk for accidents in the middle of the night.
Caring for a loved one with dementia can be challenging, but compassionate help is available. If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of Home Care Clearwater families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
Use Bright Light Therapy
Seniors with dementia need at least an hour or more of exposure to sunlight to set their body’s circadian rhythms to recognize nightfall. Try to get your loved one outside during the day whenever possible, and open up the curtains so light filters into the house when he or she is inside. Seniors who are unable to go outside may benefit from special lights that mimic the effects of sunlight.
Increase Daytime Activity
A common cause of sleep disruptions for seniors with dementia is an inability to burn off energy during the day. Try to alternate active and quiet activities throughout the day, and encourage your loved one to move around as much as possible. However, these activities should come to a halt around one or two hours before bedtime so your loved one has time to calm down.
Dementia can be challenging for seniors to manage, but they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional dementia care. Clearwater seniors can benefit greatly from the Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM), an activities-based program designed to promote cognitive health and delay the onset of dementia. CTM is included at no additional charge with any of the in-home care plans provided by Home Care Assistance.
Stick to a Sleep Routine
Your loved one uses routines to navigate through the day when confusion sets in. While it can be challenging, it’s best to make sure your loved one wakes up and goes to bed at the same times every day. You may need to experiment to find the best times that work for your loved one, but make sure to stick to them once you do.
Create a Sense of Security
Anxiety and other symptoms of dementia can cause seniors to feel insecure at night. Your loved one may worry about someone breaking into the home as he or she sleeps, and he or she may also be fearful of falling out of bed. Address these concerns so your loved one can fall asleep feeling safe. For instance, your loved one may prefer knowing a caregiver keeps watch during the night.
When you understand the causes of your loved one’s sleep difficulties and use the strategies outlined above, you can help him or her sleep better and enhance his or her overall wellbeing. Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional elder care. Clearwater, FL, Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life. Trust your loved one’s care to the professionals at Home Care Assistance. Reach out to one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (727) 330-7862.