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4 Underlying Conditions That May Cause Insomnia in the Elderly

By Kevin McClarren, 9:00 am on

Seniors who experience difficulty sleeping may have other health issues at the root. Determining what these issues are and learning how to treat them can be crucial in preventing any future complications. The staff at Home Care Assistance of Warren has put together a list of 4 underlying conditions that may actually be the cause of your elderly loved one’s insomnia.

1. Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a condition that causes a person to stop breathing for long periods during the night. Symptoms include snoring, difficulty staying asleep, and daytime drowsiness. If untreated, the condition can lead to high blood pressure and heart disease. A doctor can order tests to determine if your loved one has sleep apnea and may prescribe a CPAP device or other type of therapy to treat the condition.

2. Urinary Problems

Conditions such as an overactive bladder or an enlarged prostate can cause your loved one to get up several times during the night to use the bathroom. These interruptions may prevent your loved one from getting the deep, quality sleep he or she requires. A number of medications are available to treat these conditions. However, certain medications such as diuretics increase urination and are best taken early in the day to avoid sleep disruption. Your loved one can also help prevent getting up in the middle of the night to urinate by limiting fluid intake in the evening.

3. Dementia

Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia can reverse your loved one’s natural sleep-wake cycle. Many individuals with dementia experience daytime sleepiness and nighttime restlessness, and the problem can worsen as the disease progresses. You can help your loved one by limiting his or her naps and encouraging activity during the day. It also helps to establish bedtime rituals that tell the brain it is time to go to sleep such as changing into comfortable pajamas or reading.

4. Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless leg syndrome is a disorder affecting the nervous system. The condition causes an irresistible urge to move the legs. Your loved one may have restless leg syndrome if he or she describes a sensation of “pins and needles” or “itching” in the legs. The problem is usually worse at night and is considered a sleep disorder. A doctor may be able to prescribe medication to relieve the condition and help your loved one sleep better.

A good night’s rest is important for your loved one’s physical and mental wellbeing, but he or she may need professional assistance to help manage certain conditions that can lead to insomnia. For trusted part-time and live-in care in Warren, reach out to Home Care Assistance. All of our caregivers are trained in the holistic Balanced Care Method, which helps promote excellent physical health, mental awareness, and inner calm. For more information on our senior home care services, please call 908.450.9400 to schedule a no-obligation consultation.