Many health conditions can prompt seniors to get up during the night. Overactive bladder, Alzheimer’s disease, chronic pain and insomnia are just a few of the conditions that and cause frequent waking during the night. And when your loved one requires assistance during these waking episodes, your own sleep becomes fragmented.
Here are tips to make nighttime caregiving a little easier on you:
- Frequent bathroom use
If a loved one formerly slept through the night but has begun getting up to use the bathroom frequently, you might want to consult his or her doctor to make sure they don’t have a urinary tract infection or some other treatable condition.
- Chronic pain
Aging often brings with it a host of aches and pains. If the pain is ongoing, try using pillows, a foam mattress topper or even an adjustable bed to help the your loved one find a comfortable sleeping position. A mattress topper may add softness that relieves pressure point pain. And an adjustable bed, the ultimate sleeping comfort item, might provide general pain relief.
Many seniors with Alzheimer’s engage in rummaging behavior during the night. While you may not be able to eliminate this behavior entirely, you can strive to manage the situation and get the senior returned to bed by:
Removing all dangerous objects like scissors from the rummaging area.
Creating a safe rummage bag, drawer or even room (like a walk-in closet). The rummage bag should include the types of item the senior seems to enjoy sorting through. Often this includes clothing, like socks. Observe the senior’s behavior to get a sense of what types of objects they like to handle, and include these in the bag.
When the senior awakens to rummage at night, direct him or her to the designated bag, drawer or room. Do not disturb the rummaging. Keep lights low.
You give so much through caregiving, but you shouldn’t have to sacrifice your sleep. Family caregivers who experience chronic sleeplessness face a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease and other medical conditions. By using the above tips to manage a senior loved one’s waking episodes as efficiently as possible, you create healthier sleep opportunities for everyone.
See you next week.