As people age, they often don’t have as deep or as restful sleep as they did when they were younger. Aches and pains can pull them out of sleep, or more frequent bathroom trips. They may struggle to fall asleep in the first place, or sleep so lightly that they wake up at a slight noise or as soon as it is light outside. Because of the lack of sleep, many elderly adults benefit from a nap in the day. However, some seniors sleep all day, and this can worry their family caregivers. After all, is it normal for elderly adults to sleep all day?
There’s nothing wrong with a restorative nap during the day for elderly adults, especially those that don’t get a good night’s sleep on a regular basis. It’s important for them to catch up on lost sleep and let their body rest. When family members and elder care aides notice that the aging person is spending the majority of time in daytime sleeping, it could signal problems with their health.
The body undergoes a lot of changes with age, from chronic conditions to illness to mental issues. When seniors sleep all day and all night, it can be tied in closely to a health issue that needs to be explored. The problem with sleeping all day is that the elderly person does not usually eat well, fails to get out and be social and overwhelmingly doesn’t engage with their lives. This can be detrimental in getting enough nutrition, stimulating the mind, staying active and engaging emotionally with friends and family members.
One common cause of an elderly adult to sleep all day is because of a side effect of medicine. Common medications such as antidepressants, blood pressure drugs and even the result of mixing several medications together can result in excessive sleepiness. If an elderly relative was alert and active before starting on a certain medication, it’s worth asking their doctor about possible side effects. Similarly, a vitamin deficiency may also trigger sleepiness, and a doctor can do different tests to determine if that may be the root of the problem.
Another cause of excessive sleep in seniors centers on mental health issues. Untreated depression can make even the most involved person step back from socializing and getting involved in life. Depression is significantly underdiagnosed in the elderly, so this could be a cause. As seniors lose mobility and independence, they often experience boredom, which can lead to long bouts of sleepiness. Day after day of television, puzzles and puttering around the house isn’t stimulating, so many elderly adults just sleep the day away out of boredom. Family members can help liven up their loved one’s life through visitors, outings and time at a senior center or adult day care.
Unless the elderly person is dealing with the last stages of a disease, experiencing another health issue or approaching the end of life, it isn’t really typical for them to sleep all day. Family caregivers should work with other family members, friends, elder care aides and community senior resources to fill their days with activities and interactions to keep them going, both physically and mentally.
IF YOU OR AN AGING SENIOR ARE CONSIDERING ELDER CARE IN BOISE, ID, PLEASE CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT HOME HELPERS HOME CARE OF BOISE. CALL US: (208) 322-2668.
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