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Tips for Managing Dementia Sleep Issues

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It’s important for seniors to get restorative sleep. Recuperative, deep sleep may be even more important for seniors with dementia. Here are some ways to manage sleep issues in a senior loved one with dementia.

Increase Physical Activity

Mild exercise, if performed at least a few hours before bed, can help the body release endorphins, which promote calmness. Exercise is especially helpful for seniors with insomnia, early-morning waking, or nightmares. While increasing your loved one’s level of activity may help him or her manage sleep issues, always talk to the physician first to make sure doing so is safe.

Provide Reassurance

Seniors with dementia may be apprehensive or fearful of certain situations. For example, they may fear going to sleep at night or being alone in the bedroom. If you notice an increase in your loved one’s level of apprehensiveness, provide as much reassurance as you can. Before bedtime, provide a familiar routine, such as a warm bath and a cup of herbal tea. Also, when bathing your loved one, make sure you explain each step of the procedure so he or she doesn’t fear what comes next. In time, your loved one may associate bedtime with a pleasant routine, and sleep issues may resolve.

Caring for a loved one with dementia can be challenging, but compassionate help is available. If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of senior care Winnipeg, MB, families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

Watch for Sundowning

A relatively common phenomenon in seniors with dementia is sundowning. This term refers to confusion, fear, or agitation associated with dusk. Your loved one may be lucid and calm during the daytime, but as nighttime or bedtime approaches, he or she may develop extreme behavioral changes. If your loved one experiences sundowner’s syndrome, make the environment is as pleasant as possible, and provide nutrient-dense foods at mealtimes. Offering foods rich in magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids may prevent anxiety and fear after the sun goes down so your loved one can settle down and enjoy hours of restorative sleep.

When you understand the causes of your loved one’s sleep difficulties, you can help your him or her sleep better and enhance his or her overall wellbeing. Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional elderly home care. Winnipeg, MB, Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life.

Seek Professional Assistance

If your loved one still has sleep issues despite your interventions, make an appointment with his or her physician. After a thorough medical evaluation rules out organic causes for sleep issues, the doctor may refer your loved one to a sleep specialist or mental health professional for further evaluation and treatment. In some cases, sleep issues may be associated with obstructive sleep apnea. Seniors with dementia may be at risk for this condition because certain medications used in the treatment of dementia, depression, and anxiety can lead to snoring, acid reflux, and airway obstruction, which are all risk factors for sleep apnea. However, the physician will need to order a sleep study to determine if apnea is present. Once apnea has been recognized and treated, sleep issues may resolve as well.

Dementia can be challenging for seniors to manage, but they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional dementia care. Winnipeg seniors can benefit greatly from the Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM), an activities-based program designed to promote cognitive health and delay the onset of dementia. CTM is included at no additional charge with any of the in-home care plans provided by Home Care Assistance. Schedule a free in-home consultation by giving us a call today at (204) 489 6000.