Tag Archives: Elderly

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.

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.

Understanding Those Aches and Pains in Your Body

Pain is a part of life. You’ll find that pain comes and goes throughout your life, but it’s always there to some extent. Whether it’s the sharp pain from a recent injury, an ache in your head after a long and stressful day, that pain you get when your muscles are sore, or the cramping pain women experience each month, discomfort is inevitable and learning how to deal with it is necessary.

Understanding the various pains will help you to know how to cope with them, deal with the pain, and even prevent it.

Types of Pain

There are three basic types of pain:

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Acute Pain — This is the sort of pain that you experience when you get injured, and it is usually a short, sharp pain. Think about those times that you sprained your ankle, got punched, or received a cut – these are all forms of acute pain. Anything that involves a trauma or injury to your body can cause this type of pain, as can disease and inflammation. This type of pain usually disappears within a short amount of time as the body repairs the damage done.

Recurrent Pain — There are certain pains that come and go frequently, such as headaches, muscle pains, or joint pains. These types of pains are known as recurrent pains, and they are fairly sporadic. The pain is usually short-lived, but it will recur regularly until you address the problem causing the pain.

Chronic Pain — Chronic pain is any form of pain that lasts for a long time. Pain is considered “chronic” usually after 3 to 6 months of persisting, such as in the case of joint pain, back pain, or muscle pains. This type of pain often resistant to medication and treatments, and it can be debilitating. Chronic pain often manifests as a symptom of a disease or disorder, and both stress and environmental factors can make it worse.

How Pain Works

PMIR Medical Center explains pain in a very simple way:

Step 1: Pain is caused by a trauma, injury, surgery, disease, or inflammation.

Step 2: The nerve endings at the source of the pain pick up the signals, and transmits the signals through the nerves.

Step 3: The pain signals travel up the nerves to the spinal cord, where the nerves are all bundled up into the nervous system superhighway connected straight to the brain.

Step 4: The pain signals reach the brain, registering the sensation of “ouchie”.

In the case of chronic or consistently recurring pain, the nerves in the spinal cord and nerve endings at the injured spot can become very sensitive – picking up non-existent or mild pain signals and blowing them out of proportion in the sense receptor portion of the brain.

Dealing with Pain

shutterstock_136923536For acute pain, apply PRICE treatment (Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) as needed, and visit your doctor to find out what is causing the pain. Burns, cuts, broken bones, and other forms of acute pain may need medical attention if they are very severe, or you can treat them at home yourself.

For chronic and recurring pain, visit your doctor to see what medications or treatments he will recommend. Some pains will require the use of strong narcotics, while nerve blockers will be used in other cases. Surgery may be needed to deal with whatever is causing the pain, or physical therapy will be recommended. Cognitive behavioral therapy and psychological counseling can often deal with chronic pains that are psychosomatic in nature, while alternative treatments like acupuncture, biofeedback, meditation, and special relaxation techniques may be recommended to help you deal with chronic pain.

Caring For Your Elderly Loved Ones at Home

When looking after a relative who may need help after medical attention or as they become older in age, you can have the chance to help them live their life to the fullest and help them be as comfortable as possible. One solution is at-home care.  In some cases as relatives become older, they will need to use a catheter. A catheter is a medical device that is inserted in the body often for cardiovascular, gatronomical, and the most common, urological. Urinary catheters are used to help drain fluid from the bladder. By giving proper care to a relative who uses a catheter, you can help them be comfortable and avoid any illnesses caused by catheter neglection with urianry catheters.

Helping Your Relative to Use a Catheter

When helping your relative or another person to use a catheter, proper care is a must. This means keeping the instruments and the area clean and steralized. A proper clean area includes wearing gloves and keeping the catheter and the skin clean with soap and water each time the catheter and bag is changed. One type of catheter that is often used is a balloon catheter. A ballon catheter is simple and easy to use catheter that is inflated once inside the body cavity and deflated in order to remove.

After a catheter is placed inside a bladder, it is best that your relative avoids intense physical activity for a week or two. Throughout the day it is best to check the catheter and bag to make sure that the instruments are properly functioning. Be sure that the bag is below their waist, do not disconnect the bag from the catheter more than is necessary, look out for kinks or bending of the tube connecting to the bag, and be sure that your relative is drinking plenty of water throughout the day.

How to Avoid Illnesses Caused by Catheter Neglection

Again, by properly cleaning the instruments and the skin each time the catheter is removed and the bag is replaced, you can help decrease the risk of illness. However, a urinary tract infection (UTI) is very common when a person uses a catheter and there if you should notice any of the following, it is recommended to call a doctor:

  • Urine smells bad, the color is cloudy, there are stones, or if you notice blood in the urine.
  • Experience of pain in lower back, sides or in the bladder.
  • The urine bag fills very quickly and needs to be changed more often than it should be.
  • Pain is experienced around the catheter or there is any leaking of the catheter.

Helping Your Relative Live a Fulfilling Life

At times, your relative may feel  tied down by their catheter and believe that they cannot participate in the same activities that they once did before.  Catheters are meant to help patients live comfortably and therefore should not hinder doing daily activities that such as light exercising or even traveling.  One way a patient can continue to enjoy daily activities is by using a leg bag, which is a discreet way to way to wear the bag under pants or shorts and helps to allow daily movement.

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However, driving is not suggested as the tubes may become entangled with anything in the vehicle and thus hindering their driving ability. Because a bag must be kept above the patients waist, daily activities except for swimming can be done.  Daily walks can be helpful depending on how they are feeling during the day, but again intense exercise is not recommended one to two weeks after the catheter is inserted.

As a relative, you play an important role in your loved one’s life ensuring that they are as comfortable as they can be while living with a catheter. With proper care, daily light exercise, and good nutrition, they can continue to live a life to the fullest.