Community Blog

How Seniors can Cope with Sleep Apnea

By Vicki and Brian Day

Elder Care in Slatington PA

If you have ever heard your elderly parent sleep, do they seem to snore loudly? As annoying as it can be to try to sleep when this excessive noise is taking place, it can also be the symptom of a more serious health problem known as sleep apnea. This disorder occurs when someone stops breathing for a short amount of time before starting back up again during their sleep cycle.

Older adults who live alone could also benefit from having an elder care provider stay with them in order to observe their sleep patterns. This professional caregiver could also watch for any possible symptoms of sleep apnea. While an elder care provider can help your loved one, it is equally as important that you know as much about this condition to determine if the elder has it.

Symptoms

Some of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • Having a dry mouth or sore throat when they wake up
  • Waking up in the middle of the night or having insomnia
  • Becoming forgetful or having problems concentrating
  • Unusually depressed, moody, or irritable
  • Frequently going to the bathroom at night
  • Constantly having headaches in the morning
  • Impotence

If your loved one has any of these symptoms, they should see their doctor right away to get their sleep apnea treated.

  • Pauses in their breathing
  • Chronic and loud snoring most nights
  • Gasping, choking, or snorting while they are sleeping
  • Feeling sleep or fatigued during the day

Causes

There are certain factors that may increase the elder’s chances of developing this condition. Some of these risk factors are:

  • Being overweight
  • Family history of sleep apnea
  • Male
  • Over the age of 50
  • Smoking
  • Having high blood pressure
  • Being of pacific islander, black, or Hispanic descent
  • Those who have a neck circumference more than 15.75 inches

Treatment Options

Talking to the elder’s doctor will give you and your loved one some ideas on how to treat the condition. But making these changes will also help the elder prevent or eliminate their sleep apnea.

  • Get moving. Exercising early in the day can actually help your elderly parent sleep better at night. It can also be the solution to your loved one’s sleep apnea problems. Encourage them to do aerobic, strength training, or yoga activities for the best results.
  • Lose the extra weight. People who are overweight are more likely to have sleep apnea because the tissues in their throat become thicker. This causes their airway to become
    more restricted, resulting in increased snoring. Losing even a small amount of weight can greatly help this issue.
  • Take care of your health. Avoiding smoking, alcohol, and caffeine can prevent sleep apnea symptoms from occurring. Also, the elder should eat a healthy diet and stick to a strict sleep schedule.

With these treatment options and recommendations from the senior’s doctor, they will be able to rid themselves of this serious health condition.

Source:
https://www.helpguide.org/articles/sleep/sleep-apnea.htm

IF YOU OR AN AGING LOVED ONE ARE CONSIDERING ELDER CARE IN SLATINGTON, PA, PLEASE CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT HOME HELPERS. CALL TODAY! (610) 365-4266.