According to Dementia Australia, brain-related damage associated with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) can affect the body’s biological clock and contribute to sleep issues. If you’re providing care to a senior loved one with this common form of dementia, your loved one may reach a point where he or she is no longer getting high-quality sleep. While every situation is different, there are some ways you may be able to help your loved one address his or her Alzheimer’s-related sleep problems.
1. Encourage Daytime Activities
If your loved one naps too much during the day, he or she is more likely to have difficulty falling asleep or sleeping through the night. Manage this problem by encouraging your loved
one to be active during the day so he or she isn’t inclined to nap too often. You might do this with:
• Daytime outings to places where your loved one can mingle and receive social stimulation
• Lap-sized fidget blankets with sewn-in distractions like zippers and gloves
• Art, music, or pet therapy programs specially designed for those with Alzheimer’s
Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family carers can turn to Sydney Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.
2. Take Care of More Demanding Tasks Earlier in the Day
Some seniors with Alzheimer’s have difficulty getting to sleep if they’re frustrated by having to go through more demanding daily routines or tasks, which is why it can be helpful to handle challenging tasks earlier in the day whenever possible. For instance, you might help your loved one take a thorough bath in the morning so he or she can just use soap and water for a gentle cleanup before bedtime.
There are many reasons seniors might need assistance at home. Some may require regular mental stimulation due to an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, while others might only need part-time assistance with exercise and basic household tasks. Home Care Assistance is a leading senior home care provider. Families rely on our expertly trained care workers to help their senior loved ones maintain a high quality of life.
3. Create a Calm, Relaxing Sleep Environment
Seniors with Alzheimer’s may have sleep issues because they’re not fully relaxed when it’s time to go to bed. This sometimes happens because of lingering confusion, or they might just need some time to unwind and de-stress. One way to help your loved one get into the right state of mind for sleep is by making sure his or her bedroom is calm, quiet, and free of distractions. Seniors with AD may also appreciate a sleep environment that includes:
• Soft, soothing music
• A little bit of light so they’re not in total darkness
• A relaxing temperature—cooler tends to work best for sleeping
4. Maintain a Consistent Sleep Schedule
Even if your loved one insists he or she isn’t tired, gently suggest going to bed around the same time each night. Because individuals with Alzheimer’s can get confused about the time of day, it may be easier to get your loved one to stick to a regular sleep schedule if you create an enjoyable and relaxing bedtime routine.
5. Limit Liquids if Bladder Control Is an Issue
During the later stages of Alzheimer’s, some seniors have difficulty with bladder control, which can contribute to sleep interruptions, and this can also be a problem if they have age-related incontinence issues. If this applies to your loved one, limit liquids a few hours before bedtime. However, don’t eliminate them entirely, because adequate fluids are needed to prevent dehydration.
6. See if Medication Is Appropriate
Generally, it’s best to attempt non-drug remedies for nighttime sleep disturbances and other sleep problems before resorting to medication. This is because sleep-inducing medications can present greater risks for individuals with cognitive impairment. However, if other efforts have failed, talk to your loved one’s doctor to see if medication may be appropriate. The Alzheimer’s Association recommends “going low and slow” with such medication, meaning opting for the lowest dosage possible.
Alzheimer’s can be challenging for seniors to handle without assistance, and it can be just as challenging for families who don’t have experience in providing Alzheimer’s care. Sydney Home Care Assistance provides Alzheimer’s care seniors and their families can depend on. Our proprietary Cognitive Therapeutics Method was designed to help seniors with Alzheimer’s and other memory-related conditions live happier and healthier lives. If you need professional home care for your ageing loved one, our Care Managers are just a phone call away. Reach out to Home Care Assistance today at (02) 9158 3880.