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5 Ways to Address Sleeping Difficulties in Seniors with Dementia

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Seniors with dementia often have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep at night. The changes in the brain that cause the disorder may be part of the problem, but seniors might also have other underlying issues. There are many different methods for addressing sleep issues cause by dementia.

1. Plan Daytime Activities

Try to prevent your older loved one from taking naps during the day. Even a short nap provides enough of an energy boost to interfere with sleeping peacefully at night. Encourage your loved one to be more physically active during the day. Increasing physical activity during the day makes the body more ready to relax and sleep at bedtime. Consider taking your loved one for daily walks. Perhaps plan a special shopping excursion. Your loved one might also enjoy starting a mild to moderately intense exercise program. However, offer the chance to unwind at least two hours before bedtime.

2. Try Bright Light Therapy

By being exposed to sunshine during the day, the body adjusts its natural circadian rhythms. On cloudy days, consider using a bright light therapy lamp. Your loved one may no longer have the ability to distinguish between night and day, but the bright light exposure encourages the brain to release the hormone known as melatonin, which prepares the body for sleep. 

Dementia can be challenging for seniors to manage, but they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional dementia care. Des Moines 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.

3. Enhance the Bedroom

The bedroom environment should be conducive to sleep. Make sure your loved one’s bedding is comfortable and provides adequate warmth during cold months. Add shades or light-reducing draperies to prevent distractions from streetlights or the sunrise. Reduce noise levels from other rooms that might attract your loved one’s attention.

4. Evaluate Medications

Certain medications have the potential to interrupt restful sleep. Antihistamines or anxiety medications may cause drowsiness during the day and prevent the ability to fall asleep or stay asleep at night. Diuretics are designed to eliminate excess body fluid and lower blood pressure. If your loved one takes these prescriptions too late in the day, he or she may need to get up at night and use the bathroom. Avoid allowing your loved one to drink caffeinated beverages after lunch. 

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 senior care Des Moines, IA, families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

5. Address Discomfort or Pain

Awakening and pacing at night might be an indication your loved one is experiencing some type of physical discomfort. Seniors with dementia may become too cognitively impaired to share that they’re experiencing pain. Your loved one might experience abdominal discomfort if he or she becomes constipated or exhibit few or no symptoms of a urinary tract infection except frequent trips to the bathroom at night. He or she might also have discomfort from a hidden injury or arthritis. Uncovering the problem may mean paying closer attention to your loved one’s productivity in the bathroom. Your loved one might also need to undergo an evaluation by a healthcare provider. 

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. Des Moines, IA, 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 Home Care Assistance to provide high-quality compassionate, professional care for your loved one. Call one of our friendly Care Managers today at (515) 264-2438.

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