Community Blog

Fatigue and your Aging Parent

By Vicki and Brian Day

It is often difficult to determine when fatigue is just a natural part of aging or the sign of a more serious disease. Some clues include the depth of tiredness and the duration. If you notice your parent growing increasingly tired and showing no signs of growing stamina, it is time to call their primary health care provider.

Diseases that cause Fatigue

There are several diseases that are associated with fatigue. A study conducted at Columbia University illustrates the need to take this complaint among the elderly serious. 2,130 people took part in this study. The average age was about 74 with the majority were women. They were evaluated every 18 months for 7 years. Lack of energy was linked to an increasing inability to perform the everyday activities of living. In addition, lack of energy was linked to joint problems, medications for pain, urinary incontinence, hearing problems, and depression. Fatigue can also be associated with heart, kidney or lung disease as well as anemia.

A common cause that is often overlooked includes insomnia. If your parent is not getting a good night’s sleep, chances are they will be tired the following day.

Helping your Parent

If no underlying disease is evident, help your parent increase their energy by providing nutrient-dense foods, increase their exercise regime and promote a good night’s sleep. Foods that are good for added energy include fruits and vegetables, particularly brightly colored ones. Think broccoli, carrots and berries. Whole grains have valuable nutrition and stabilize energy levels. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids are important and include salmon, mackerel and sardines. It’s also important to your parent’s energy level that they stay hydrated. Make sure they have a glass of water by their sides and are sipping from it often.

Exercises that are particularly beneficial include ones that incorporate balance, strength, and mindfulness. These include both tai chi and yoga. These types of exercises are getting so popular with seniors that you can often find them at the local senior community center or the YMCA.

As you can imagine, frequent sleepless nights will constitute tired days. Help your parent get a good night’s sleep by creating a relaxing bedtime ritual, diminishing stress and making sure they don’t take long naps in the late afternoon or evening.

Senior Care Provider

If your loved one can no longer perform the everyday activities of living, consider obtaining the services of a senior care provider. These professionals can accompany your parent on walks, provide energy-enhancing meals, run errands and provide transportation, in addition to helping your parent with the daily tasks associated with living.

Resources
https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/fatigue#illnesses
http://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/news/20080808/fatigue-among-elders-tied-to-other-ills#1

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