Sleep pattern changes happen as one ages. With many elderly men and women who don't need help with daily activities of living, it's not often a problem. When sleep patterns shift and a parent needs daily care, it's troublesome.
As Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia set in, the risk of wandering and getting lost is a primary concern. If your parent's sleeping patterns have shifted so that your mom or dad sleeps all day and is up all night, opposite to your own patterns, it's hard to keep a parent from wandering without sacrificing sleep. Here are natural ways you can help your parent's sleep patterns.
Get Enough Exercise Each Day
Make sure that your mom or dad gets a lot of exercise each day. If your mom sleeps till noon and then sits and watches TV for hours, it's less likely that the body will feel tired and ready for sleep.
Try to get your parent outside in the fresh air. A vigorous walk for 30 minutes or more is ideal. If the weather doesn't cooperate, a treadmill inside will help. Yoga classes are other ideas to make sure your mom or dad burns off excess energy to prepare the body for sleep.
Install Room Darkening Blinds
If your mom or dad has a hard time getting to sleep because it's too light outside, put in room darkening blinds. They'll block out a neighbor's floodlights, a full moon, or headlights. In the morning, open the blinds at the appropriate time.
Set Alarms for Each Morning
Make sure your mom or dad are prompted to get up at the same time. Setting a routine can help establish sleeping patterns. Get your mom or dad in bed at night at the same time, when possible, and then make sure they get up at the same time in the morning. Arrange the time your parent sleeps to match what you need.
Keep Books Available
Half an hour before the chosen bedtime, have your parent go to bed and read a book. Reading often prepares the body for sleep. If your mom or dad struggles to hold a book while in bed, a Kindle or e-reader is lightweight and can store dozens of books.
Skip Caffeinated Beverages After 3:00 p.m.
Make sure your parent isn't drinking caffeinated beverages after 3:00 p.m. Caffeine can stimulate the body and make it feel alert and energized. Switch to herbal teas, water, and seltzer with late afternoon snacks and dinners.
If you are a family caregiver and often help your mom or dad around the house, don't be ashamed to get help. Caring for an elderly family member is stressful. You need your sleep. Elder care services ensure you get them. Call an elder care agency to learn more.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care in LaVista, NE, please contact the caring staff at Seniors Helping Seniors® Greater Omaha at (402) 215-0308 today.