August 23, 2011
Sleep problems may plague older adults for a variety of reasons. The Home Instead Senior Care® network offers family caregivers tips for helping seniors get a better night’s sleep. Companionship is one important way to help.
Q. My 80-year-old father seems to have a lot of problems sleeping. Is this common and what can he do?
In a Gallup poll of 1,000 adults over the age of 50, less than half of those surveyed (32 percent) reported getting a good night’s sleep all seven days of the week. And yet, respondents ranked good sleep as more important even than interpersonal relationships.
This Gallup study revealed a number of factors to explain why many seniors experience sleep problems including worry, medications and illnesses, and conditions such as congestive heart failure, and bladder or prostate problems.
According to the findings of a Better Sleep Month survey, Americans may be turning to “quick fixes” in lieu of focusing on lifestyle changes and potential long-term solutions to improve their sleep.
The survey revealed that more than half of Americans are unlikely to take some basic steps to improve the quality of their sleep. For instance, 66 percent are not likely to evaluate their mattress for comfort and support and, if needed, consider buying a new one.
Following, from the Home Instead Senior Care® network, are tips for helping seniors sleep better at night.
- Encourage seniors to obtain a lifeline, which is a button they can push to summon medical help if needed.
- Play soft music at night. It has a calming effect.
- Install night lights. They make it easier for seniors to see when they get up at night.
- Light the outside of the house and set timers to activate some indoor lights. Older adults will feel more secure knowing their house is illuminated.
- Let your older loved ones know they can call you. Put your number, or that of another family member or friend, on speed dial.
- Reassure them the house is secure. Rehearse with them the process to make sure their doors and windows are locked.
- Make sure the interior of the house is safe by installing grab bars and eliminating throw rugs.
- Consider climate control. Their house should not be too hot or too cold.
- Encourage a set routine. This will help a senior feel less anxious.
Consider resources such as a non-medical professional caregiver. Many CAREGiversSM, such as those from the Home Instead Senior Care office, provide 24-hour and overnight services to help seniors in their homes whenever they need assistance.
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