There is a joke that draws similarities between seniors and newborn babies: they both lack hair, teeth, and spend the whole day sleeping. Although there is nothing wrong with retirees having a good afternoon nap every now and then, when they lose interest in every other action and spend most of the day in bed, then it’s a serious problem you shouldn’t ignore. There is a clear divide between normal and abnormal sleeping, and without proper countermeasures the senior’s condition could significantly worsen.
Normal vs Abnormal Sleeping
With each passing year, people tend to sleep more lightly. They rouse up easier in the middle of night, while achy joints prevent them from getting back to sleep. Naturally, rest that was lost must be compensated for with a good afternoon nap in their favorite chair. This should be considered normal sleeping or dozing, and it is perfectly natural with aging. Trouble begins when the sleeping routine is totally destroyed, and daytime dozing comes at the expense of common activities to the point where the senior loses interest even in eating or taking their medicine. This could lead to severe health problems, dehydration and separating socially from their environment. It goes without saying that elderly people living alone are the most likely to fall victim to sleeping disorientation.
Causes of Abnormal Sleeping
It’s vital to note that aging isn’t a factor in abnormal sleeping. Dementia, depression, chronic pain, boredom and medical problems are the biggest contributors. If you are noticing the signs of excessive daytime sleeping for your older relative, your first port of call should be the doctor in order to take a critical look at the medical history. Atypical anti-psychotics are known to affect the mental well-being of an elderly person, but it’s also possible that a seemingly harmless pill’s side effect is responsible for the disturbed sleeping routine.
Besides medication, depression and boredom play an important role in increased tiredness. We advise against resorting to anti-depressants and instead recommend motivating your loved ones to get out of the house frequently. The best course of action is to bring order into their life. Having a daily schedule not only makes it easier to leave the bed, but also fills them with energy. Taking them to the town’s community center or adult day care is a great opportunity to socialize with other seniors and participate in a variety of programs. You should also consider hiring a caregiver as well or someone who could provide them company on a daily basis. Either way, aim to give them a purpose to switch their thoughts from loneliness, boredom and – ultimately – depression.
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