The fountain of youth might be found in your dreams! Contrary to popular belief, seniors don’t need less sleep than their younger counterparts. Maintaining a healthy sleep schedule is one of the biggest secrets to staying cognitively sharp throughout the years.
Unfortunately, many adults over 65 get much less sleep than they need, for a variety of reasons. This is why a major priority of home health care in Chesterfield is making sure that older adults are receiving the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Here are some reasons why they might not be getting the right amount of sleep, and how to encourage them to get a few extra Z’s.
Why Aren’t Seniors Sleeping Enough?
Whether it’s due to medication or an erratic schedule, many older adults are getting less shut-eye than they should. For many, this change in sleep patterns can be attributed to the effects of aging on the body.
Seniors typically also take longer to fall asleep and wake up frequently throughout the night. This is because the body creates less of the chemicals and hormones that aid in sleep, such as melatonin, as it ages. One study of adults over the age of 65 found that 13% of men and 36% of women take more than 30 minutes to fall asleep.
What Are The Negative Effects?
Sleep impairment (getting six or fewer hours of sleep each night) can have a major impact on cognitive functioning. When humans are fatigued or awake for too long, their brain can become over-stimulated and stressed. Seniors who don’t get enough sleep each night are more prone to anxiety and depression, have difficulty with information recall, and are more at-risk for falls and accidents. Research also suggests that sleep deprivation can lead to irreversible brain damage, as well as shrinking brain volume.
Why Sleep More
There is a slew of benefits to being well-rested for seniors. Older adults who receive the recommended amount of sleep each night find that they are able to recall information quickly, think clearly, and make more rational decisions. Sleep also helps repair damaged cells and tissues, which can help improve pain tolerance and boost the immune system.
Ways to Get More Rest
Taking a quick 30-minute power nap is a great way to recharge, especially for seniors that didn’t get as much sleep as they should have the night before. Whenever possible, naps should be avoided in the late afternoon or evening. This will make it more difficult to fall asleep later on that night.
A routine for those taking advantage of home health care in Macomb is also important. Seniors should go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. This trains the body to become tired at a certain time, making it easier to fall asleep each night.
Do you find yourself unable to perform everyday activities that once were second-nature to you, such as cooking, carrying on a conversation, or recalling basic knowledge? To a certain degree, mild memory loss can be a common part of aging. While you might sometimes find yourself misplacing your wallet or lapsing on an acquaintance’s name, this is not always an indicator of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
However, your mental abilities and cognitive functioning should remain largely unaffected by normal aging. Occasional forgetfulness should not interfere with your ability to work, live independently, or maintain healthy relationships. You should still be able to retain common sense, the ability to reason and form logical judgments.
What Is Dementia?
Dementia is characterized by a consistent decline in two or more of cognitive functions, such as memory, reasoning, language, and judgment. The onset of dementia can be gradual, and it’s important to diagnose mild cognitive impairment early in order to begin treatment that helps manage symptoms and prevent them from progressing further. Luckily, with the availability of skilled nursing care in Macomb, this can be done from the comfort of your own home.
What Causes Memory Loss?
While Alzheimer’s disease is recognized as the leading cause of dementia, there are several other conditions that cause memory loss or other dementia-like symptoms. Fortunately, many can be reversible with early intervention. Minor head trauma, emotional disorders, alcoholism and certain medications are some possible causes of reversible memory loss.
The main thing to know about memory loss is that it should not interfere with your everyday life. For example, while you might occasionally miss a turn on your daily work commute, getting lost while driving in a familiar area is a cause for concern. You might also occasionally forget about an appointment but should not have overdue bills piling up. You might have a word on the “tip of your tongue,” but your sentences should not be garbled.
What Can Be Done?
Fortunately, with services like skilled nursing care in Chesterfield available, people with early symptoms of memory loss are able to live comfortably in their house. Arranging for visits from one of these caregivers is an excellent way to remember to take medication and make your way safely to appointments. These professionals work on your schedule and make it possible to manage health concerns while maintaining your independence.
Establishing a regular exercise routine and following a healthy diet are also great ways to keep the mind sharp and improve cognitive functioning. Try to keep your mind active and challenged with activities like completing a crossword puzzle, learning a new language, and reading for at least 30 minutes each day.
In-house health aides are an important part of many seniors’ lives. These professionals are tasked with the emotional and physical health of their clients, serving as both a nurse and companion for many. For this reason, compatibility and patience are just as important as having the proper credentials.
Whether you’re a caregiver that wants to provide better home nursing care in Chesterfield, or you’re seeking support for yourself, there are a few qualities that every professional should have.
Seniors and loved ones that are seeking out a personal health aide or nurse should request to see a list of the candidate’s certifications and educational history. Seek out someone who has at least the state’s minimum licensing requirements, as well as at least five years of experience.
As a caregiver, you should consistently seek out opportunities to continue your education. This includes receiving additional training in specialized areas like memory loss support or receiving refresher courses on medical procedures.
It’s important that a caregiver’s experience lines up with the needs of his or her patient. This is particularly important for seniors that have a preexisting medical condition that requires specialized attention. The needs of an older adult with Alzheimer’s disease will most likely differ from someone who requires meal planning and household management.
Attention to Detail
When major changes occur to health or cognitive functioning, nurses need to notice right away. It’s important that caregivers pay attention to even the smallest details, since this can make a major difference in a senior’s wellbeing. This includes taking note of any major memory lapses, mysterious bruises, and changes in appetite.
Caregivers are often the people that seniors see the most, making timeliness and reliability crucial qualities. As a caregiver, make sure that you always arrive on time on the days that you’re expected. For seniors or loved ones that are seeking out home nursing care in Macomb, make sure to cross-check references from past employers.
As someone tasked with the health and needs of others, nurses and patients should have personalities that mesh well together. They should be quick to provide assistance or alleviate discomfort, providing a helpful hand or ear whenever it’s required. Above everything else, seek out a caregiver that is both professional and nurturing.
When seeking out home nursing care in Chesterfield, talk to your prospective professional about scheduling requirements. If you need someone who is available at a moment’s notice, be upfront with that during the initial screening. You should also discuss the everyday tasks that are expected to be performed each day. The best caregivers are flexible and open to performing most tasks that fall within their training capabilities.
Whether your parent just experienced a bad fall or you’re concerned that they’re not taking their medication correctly, it’s normal to be concerned with loved ones as they age. Skilled home health care in Chesterfield is a great way to ensure seniors receive the attention they need while allowing them to maintain independence and live in their own house.
If you want to talk to your aging loved one about considering hiring a caregiver to assist with day-to-day activities, read on for advice on having a constructive conversation.
Be Tactful When Discussing
Mindfulness is important when bringing up skilled home health care in Macomb. This might be an uncomfortable topic for your parent, so take some time to plan the conversation before broaching the subject.
Bring up specific activities you believe they might need help with. Perhaps they need someone to assist with cooking meals, reminding them to take medication, or driving them to medical appointments. If you can pinpoint your areas of concern and how skilled health care in Macomb can help, it’ll be easier to have open dialogue about the topic.
Explain How You Feel
Be honest with your parents about how your concern for their health and safety makes you feel. If you are acting as their primary caregiver, explain the impact that this responsibility is having on your life. Your parents want you to be happy and knowing that you’re concerned might be the push they need.
Remember to Listen
Though you have their best interests at heart, remember that your parents will ultimately be the ones interacting with their caregiver. Listen to any concerns that they voice and remember that this is likely a brand-new experience for them. Ask plenty of open-ended questions to help facilitate the conversation and make sure to listen closely to what they have to say. Your loved ones shouldn’t feel forced into the situation, nor cornered to make a decision right away.
Bring In Someone They Trust
Sometimes, bringing an unbiased yet influential voice to the conversation will help bring your parents around. Whether it’s a doctor, best friend or community member, discuss your concerns with a confidant that might be able to help. If you know someone who currently relies on skilled home health care in Chesterfield, asking them to discuss their experience might help your parents see the benefits.
Compromise With a Trial-Run
If your loved one seems hesitant about moving forward with skilled home health care in Macomb, suggest giving it a try on a trial basis. This will give your aging loved one a chance to see what it’s like to have help and get to know their potential caregiver.
Many don’t realize that in-house caregivers do more than look out for a senior’s health concerns. Loneliness and social isolation are two common issues for seniors that opt for home care in Macomb.
One major benefit of working with a caregiver is the human interaction they provide for many seniors. These professionals are also companions for older adults who might not see loved ones as often as they used to. It gives them an opportunity to socialize with people, especially if they don’t live near friends or family.
Why is this socialization important? Seniors who go long periods of time without engagement with others are more susceptible to health concerns such as dementia, an increased risk of falls, and high blood pressure.
In fact, research suggests that maintaining friendships may protect people from cognitive decline as they age. A team at Northwestern University spent nine years studying adults over the age of 80 whose memories were sharper than people who were two or three decades younger. Something all of these “SuperAgers” had in common? The amount of satisfying, fulfilling relationships they had.
Friendships are healthy for humans on many levels. Conversations help boost cognitive function, while games help stimulate the brain and keep seniors sharp. One study found that the rate of cognitive decline was 70% less in seniors who had frequent social contact (versus those that did not socialize often).
Finding companionship can sometimes be more difficult as the years go on. Retirement communities are often popular due to their social calendars and close living quarters. However, whether it’s due to privacy concerns or a desire to stay in the house, they’re not for everyone. This makes the availability of home care in Chesterfield crucial for keeping seniors mentally and physically healthy.
These professionals form close bonds with their clients, which helps seniors have better self-esteem. These frequent interactions also provide them with a sense of belonging, improves physical health, and increases cognitive functioning.
Ways to Encourage Socialization
Caregivers can help provide the companionship seniors need in a variety of ways. For many, it can be as simple as having a conversation. Ask about their hobbies and interests, talk about current events, or ask them to tell you a favorite story from their past.
For other seniors, it’s doing an activity together such as planting a garden or figuring out a crossword puzzle. Try to bring over something new to try each week, such as a book to read aloud or an interesting jigsaw puzzle that will last the afternoon.
Social outings are also an excellent idea for seniors that still retain mobility. This can include visiting a local museum, walking around the park or even going to the movies to catch the matinee.