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How the Elderly Can Get a Better Night’s Sleep

How the Elderly Can Get a Better Night’s Sleep

As people get older, a good night’s sleep becomes much harder to achieve. Sleep among the elderly tends to be much choppier and less deep than their younger counterparts meaning they may wake up several times during the night and it takes less for them to wake up. They also spend much less time in dream sleep than younger people. Just because the elderly tend to get less sleep than younger people, it is still equally important for restorative health benefits. There are several reasons why the elderly get less sleep and several ways for them to the sleep that they need.

Bad sleep habits

One of the most common of sleep problems among older people is that they choose or are often forced to have poor sleeping habits. It is important for all people to maintain a regular sleep pattern and when there is no regular sleep pattern it is much more difficult to get a good night’s sleep. Family restraints, work are two of the possible options that may cause the elderly to get off a regular sleeping pattern. The elderly are also more likely to take naps during the day which often throws off a regular sleep pattern. Often alcohol, a depressant, can actually keep you awake when you want to go to bed throwing off your sleeping pattern, especially in the elderly. Retirement is also something that takes some getting used to for elderly individuals. Suddenly, the elderly have a lot of time on their hands which can create some odd sleep patterns.

How the Elderly Can Get a Better Night’s Sleep

There are several solutions to alleviate poor sleep habits. Finding a way to get your work done during the day and communicating with family about your sleeping trouble is a good start to at least set up a more normal sleep pattern. If you are going to take a nap during the day to attempt to recover some lost sleep, try do so well before you attempt to go to bed for the night. Avoiding alcohol before you go to bed is also a wise decision and will help with sleep patterns. Physical activity during the day is also a good, healthy option to burn some unused energy so that your muscles and body will crave the restorative effects of sleep. Even though, the elderly have more time on their hands, it is still important to keep a regular sleep schedule so they have their normal amount of energy.

Medication

The elderly are more likely to take medications than younger people and often these substances will alter sleep patterns. In some cases, medication can create wakefulness at night. Consulting with your doctor when taking medications is wise to see how they will affect your sleep. If a medication alters your sleep pattern it is wise to tell your doctor and you may be able to move to a different medication. Doctors can also presrive medications to help alleviate sleep issues.

Psychological issues

Being an elderly individual also means that you have experienced a lot of in your life both positive and negative. Traumatic events such as death often messes with sleep as an individual will focus so much on these events that their mind cannot go to sleep. Stress from family or work can also cause the loss of sleep. Communication with individuals close to you such as family and friends is a good way to alleviate some of the burden that you are carrying and often works to achieve a better sleep pattern. There are plenty of financial professionals that handle financial problems of the elderly and speaking with them and setting up a plan can also alleviate the stress the elderly.

Disruptions of normal sleeping behavior are common among the elderly due to the changing of their bodies as well as outside influences. Luckily, by keeping a regular sleep schedule and maintain a healthy lifestyle, the elderly can help themselves get the good night’s sleep they need.

Spread the Warmth – Check Elderly Friends and Family’s Heating this Winter

While the cold winter months can be uncomfortable for all of us, for elderly people, the bitter temperatures pose a serious risk to their health, and even their lives. By sparing a few minutes to check the heating of any elderly friends, family or neighbours you may have, you could be making an incredible difference.

Excess Winter Deaths

Last year, over 31,000 elderly people died as a result of illness stemming from the cold winter weather. This represented a 29% increase on what are known as “excess winter deaths” from last year, a rise which lead to fierce calls for David Cameron to spend money on insulating homes across the country. In March, 1,582 people died every day, which was a 14% increase on the average number.  The stats were worse than those of Finland and Sweden, which gives you an idea of how dangerous these conditions can be to older people.

What You Can Do

Over the course of the winter, checking in with your elderly friends, family or neighbours can make a real difference to their comfort and health. It doesn’t need to be a huge inconvenience to your day; simply popping round to check their heating is functioning and making sure they have suitable warm clothing and blankets is all you need to do. They will greatly appreciate your kindness and help, and it can allow them to be as comfortable as possible during the winter.

Do You Know Any Of These People?

senior-citizens

There are several groups of people who are particularly at risk from the harsh temperatures:

  • People over 75 years old (especially women) who are living on their own/isolated from friends, family or neighbours
  • Sufferers of chronic or severe illnesses, e.g. heart conditions, diabetes, or breathing problems, and mental illnesses
  • People with disabilities or who are bed bound, as they cannot adapt their routine to the cold weather
  • People who suffer from Alzheimer’s – they also will struggle to adapt their routines accordingly

If you have elderly friends or family who you can visit, then please do. Visiting them just once every few days, or even once a week means you can check they have everything they need; heating, food, warm clothing and most of all, comfort. Elderly people are especially vulnerable to illnesses like pneumonia and the flu, so if you can spare a few hours every week to help them out, you could make their lives a lot easier.

Dealing With Disabilities in Your Senior Years

Dealing with a disability at any age is difficult, but this especially true for elderly members of the population. Individuals who are 60 and older may find it exceptionally difficult to transfer from workplace to the other, learn new skills or even cope with working at all. Unfortunately, with age comes a variety of possibilities with regards to the development of a disability. It’s common for the elderly to develop a disability like chronic diseases, physical injuries, mental impairment and many others.

While the advent of a disability can be disheartening, and affect the ability to work and interact with others on a personal and social level, it’s important to remember that having a disability doesn’t signal the end of all happy experiences. There are many ways for coping with disabilities in your senior years, and how you do that directly affects the amount of optimism you have for recovery or living your life. Getting this aid will help you to overcome or cope with what’s holding you back and enable you to enjoy the time you have with your loved ones.

Coping

There are many affects which a disability has on you, and this includes your mental health. It’s easy to fall into the trap of depression and anxiety when faced with what seems to be an overwhelming obstacle in your elderly years. In many cases, individuals find themselves afflicted with chronic pain which they’re unable to overcome on their own, and this affects their quality of life. That, in turn, takes a toll on your self-perception and self-confidence, and it’s important to build that back up in order to cope with this tough time.

Dealing With Disabilities in Your Senior Years

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can help you realign negative thinking and become a more positive person, by training you to mentally cope with your disability. Help from a psychologist, doctor and physiotherapist is essential for a speedy recovery or a long-term solution for coping with pain or disability. Meditation is another great way to cope with negative thoughts or pain, and can help you establish a new thought process.

Help from Home

It takes many hands to make light work. That’s a mantra you should practice when coping with a disability. It’s not easy to bury pride and ask for help from loved ones or even medical practitioners, but it’s essential that you do. As you get older, your body deteriorates and the need for special care increases. Investing in a full-time nurse may be necessary if you have an injury or chronic illness which prevents you from performing day-to-day tasks with ease.

Having your family around can also be a source of great comfort and stability in both an emotional and physical way. Surround yourself with people that care about you and that you trust enough to lean on without the fear of being judged or treated as an invalid. Try to invest in a solid state of mind with the belief that you are not a burden and are doing the best you can. People who care about you won’t see you in a negative light.

Monetary Support

If you’re unable to work at all, it might be possible to claim for disability benefits. Depending on which state you’re in, you’ll be able to claim benefits for your disability based on a specific grid which measures your education, past work experience and the severity of your injury. Though it may sound complicated, there are plenty of facilities which can help you figure out this process. In Louisiana, for instance, you would be able to enlist the help of a Louisiana Disability Lawyer to guide you through the application process. If you’re deemed unable to perform work (sedentary or otherwise) and your claim is approved, you’ll be able to focus on coping rather than worrying about money.

Always get help from professionals, care from your family and enlist the help of a professional to ensure your monetary affairs are in order.

Food for Thought: Maintaining Brain Function as You Grow Older

Imagine if there were a magic pill that you could take that would improve your brain
function every time you took it! We’d all stand in line for that pill just so we could be
smarter, or at the very least have a better memory, right?

An elder couple is in a good health condition. - Shutterstock

The sad truth is that there is no such magic pill, and thus we’re stuck with a mind
that slowly degrades as we age. Mental function declines, your ability to remember
things is reduced, and your mind just isn’t as speedy as it once was.

But what if you could eat to get your brain back in shape?

Brain Foods

Check out the list of foods below – foods that can help to keep your brain
functioning properly as you age:

Turmeric — We all love turmeric in our curry, but did you know that it’s a food with
health benefits as well as great taste? Turmeric contains curcumin, an antioxidant
that has been proven to improve our memory and recall, reduce the degrading of
our brain as a result of Alzheimer’s, and even help to create new cells. It can reduce
swelling in your brain cells, and reduce the amyloid plaques believed to be linked to
Alzheimer’s.

Blueberries –WebMD confirms that blueberries are more than just tasty little
bundles of antioxidants, but they’re actually brain foods as well. The antioxidants in
blueberries reduce oxidative stress in your brain, and can help to prevent
Alzheimer’s and other age-related brain disorders.

Celery — Who knew these crunchy veggies could be so awesome? Celery contains
luteolin, which helps to reduce inflammation in the brain cells. With inflammation
being linked to neurodegeneration, luteolin can stop your brain from degrading as
you age.

Salmon — Everyone knows that Omega-3 fatty acids are excellent for your health,
and they’re now linked to improved brain function. The anti-inflammatory properties
of the Omega-3 acids will reduce brain decay, and the fatty acids will provide your
brain with the fuel that it needs to produce neurochemicals.

Crab –While crab may not be a “superfood”, it’s definitely a brain food. Crab
contains phenylalanine, which is the amino acid that is needed in order to produce
dopamine – a vital neurotransmitter. Phenylalanine is also vital for the production of
noradrenaline and adrenaline, as well as hormones in your thyroid. It’s a wonderful
source of Vitamin B12, and there’s less risk of the mercury poisoning common with
certain types of fish.

Avocadoes — These tasty veggies are often avoided due to their high fat content,
but the truth is that avocado has been given a bum rap. The fat in avocadoes is
very healthy, and it will help to improve circulation in your body – particularly to
your brain. These foods can lower blood pressure, considered a factor in declining
brain health.

Brewer’s Yeast — Yes, we may have hated it when our mothers sprinkled this
yeasty powder onto our yoghurt as children, but it did our brains a lot of good.
Brewer’s yeast contains thiamine and pyridoxine – also known as Vitamins B1 and
B6. Thiamine deficiency has been linked to one type of dementia, and pyridoxine is
necessary for your brain to produce new neurotransmitters. It can be hard to get
enough of both of these B vitamins, so adding Brewer’s yeast to your diet is the way
to go!

You’ve got private health insurance to cover your medical costs should you get sick,
but why not prevent illness and age-related disorders by eating healthy foods? Add
the foods listed above to your diet, and you’ll be so much healthier as a result.

Home Options for Older People: Should You Accept Assisted Living or Modify Your Existing Home

Getting older and wiser while watching the awe-inspiring growth of your family and friends, knowing you have lived a full life, is a gift not all of us are able to appreciate. For those lucky enough to see past retirement, becoming older brings about a host of new life perspectives, concerns, and needs. Often, many of these new challenges are related to health problems which naturally increase in frequency as we age. Because of these trends, it can be very helpful for the elderly to either receive in-home care or to be transferred into an assisted living residence once their health problems become too complicated to take care of themselves or with the help of family. These services and facilities can help the elderly maintain their normal schedules, stay healthy, and live longer, albeit catering to different sorts of clients. How can you decide whether assisted living or in-home care is the right solution for you and your family?

Assisted Living Facilities

Assisted Living facilities sometimes receive bad press in the media as depressing homes or communities where people go to spend their last days. In fact, there are a variety off available assisted living facilities that offer different levels of services depending on the needs of their clients. Assisted living homes are great for the elderly who have intensive, daily medical needs and that should be under constant supervision or who are extremely restricted in their possible activities or movements because of their state of health. These facilities usually have a nurse on call at all times and can easily schedule medical appointments with specialists for more serious concerns. By always having at least one set of watchful eyes around, assisted living facilities can make you and your family feel safer about the well-being of your elderly loved one.

Assisted living facilities are also great for combating the loneliness that can often accompany old age. By gathering many people together who face the same sorts of daily challenges and tend to enjoy similar forms of socializing and enjoyment, assisted living facilities provide a welcoming community to the elderly that they are unlikely to get elsewhere. This socialization has been shown to improve the elderly’s psychological state and resultantly their health. In addition, a serious concern for a majority of the elderly is the significant cost of medical and daily care. Because of the grouping of resources, assisted living facilities are actually usually cheaper than hiring full-time in-home staff with the bonus of offering a welcoming community.

In-Home Care

In-home care usually entails working with an agency to find a suitable nurse or caregiver to come to your home for an agreed upon number of hours every week. For people who only need help sparingly or a few times a week to clean up the home or make sure that the bills are paid and other household necessities are taken care of, hiring an in-home aide is probably the best option. Nurses can also be scheduled to visit the home as frequently as necessary to help maintain health and administer medications. Unfortunately, because such hired help is normally paid by the hour, using intensive in-home care can be more expensive than simply transferring to an assisted living facility. For pricing information, see SeniorHousingNet.com.

Receiving in-home assistance may not be the best choice for those seniors who have little contact with their peers or whose family lives far away. In these cases, its possible that the elderly person’s lack of socialization may actually be making him/her more sick and moving into an assisted living facility may be a better idea. If in-home care is an option, it can also be beneficial to make the home as comfortable as possible for the elderly. Home improvements that make it easier to get up and down stairs, reach an emergency number, or automatically shut off electricity and gas can transform a home into the perfect, personal care-giving facility. Companies like Encasa Experts can remove much of the hassle of organization by helping you find in-home care and install home improvements.

Deciding how to live best in old age is a difficult decision complicated by factors like medical needs and budget concerns. Understanding your needs will help you identify which type of elderly care is best for you and your loved ones.