Care at Home, LLC solely provides nonmedical care.

Providing home care in Connecticut and Rhode Island

Call CT: (860) 333-6841

Call RI: (401) 537-1609

Sleep and Aging

Sleep and Aging

From infancy, parents closely monitor sleep. People worldwide commonly ask new parents, “Does the baby sleep through the night?”. This question goes in hand with the old proverb of never waking a sleeping baby. People share advice about sleep and infants profusely, but new parents implement it in various ways.

As we grow, bedtime routines are established with the hope that school-aged children wake up refreshed and ready to tackle the day. Research abounds on school start times, optimal sleep hours, and the efficacy of melatonin. Witnessing a cranky child often leads to a mother checking off what possible needs the child has in the moment, one of which is sleep.

Throughout life, achieving a peaceful night of slumber becomes more complicated. The scientific community consistently recommends getting a solid 8 hours of sleep each night. However, achieving life’s goals while meeting this need can seem impossible. Is this why some people boast about their ability to sleep less and do more?

Aging and Quality Rest

As we age and think about our mortality, sleep can become a source of anxiety. Those working in senior care are familiar with the common response, “Well, I woke up today, so that’s a start,” when asking clients how they are doing first thing in the morning. This response indicates a level of uncertainty that we do not typically experience in our younger years in trying for a good night’s rest. In addition to anxiety, we experience many different factors that can affect a person’s ability to get their forty winks in. As we age, we can spend more time in the lighter sleep stages and experience more wakefulness and less deep sleep. This lighter sleep stage can make us more prone to waking in response to noises and lights in our environment.

Understanding the barriers to good sleep as we age is essential. Certain conditions and/or medications can also have symptoms and/or side effects that make it harder to sleep. These symptoms and/or side effects could include increased frequency of bathroom trips, nocturnal leg cramps, acid reflux, snoring, and general restlessness. If you experience any of these issues, consult your doctor for potential remedies.

Home Care Support

At Care at Home, we incorporate our clients’ sleep patterns into each care plan. This care plan is shared with our team, and caregivers must acknowledge they have read and understood it before starting a shift. It’s crucial to know if a client likes to nap, sleeps well, or has issues preventing restful slumber and how we can assist them in achieving the best night’s sleep possible. Care plans at Care at Home are developed prior to start of services and reviewed at consistent intervals. Our Field Technicians go out to each client’s home as well to monitor care plan implementation and provide any needed one on one training to caregivers. We like to try to set our clients’ up for both a successful day and night!

Daytime Sleep Strategies

Our daytime and evening caregivers play a vital role in supporting clients’ sleep quality by:

  1. Maintaining a Consistent Daily Routine: Helping clients stick to a regular schedule for waking up, meals, and activities.
  2. Encouraging Physical Activity: Engaging clients in regular physical activities like walking, stretching, or light exercises.
  3. Limiting Daytime Naps: Monitoring and managing nap times to ensure they are short and not too late in the day.
  4. Providing Nutritious Meals: Preparing and serving balanced meals that include sleep-promoting nutrients, while avoiding heavy meals close to bedtime.
  5. Managing Hydration: Encouraging proper hydration throughout the day but limiting fluid intake in the evening to reduce nighttime bathroom trips.
  6. Providing Social Engagement: Facilitating social interactions and companionship to improve mental well-being and reduce stress and anxiety.
  7. Assisting with Personal Hygiene: Helping clients with personal hygiene routines such as bathing and grooming.
  8. Creating a Comfortable Living Environment: Ensuring the living space is tidy, comfortable, and conducive to relaxation.
  9. Engaging in Cognitive Activities: Involving clients in cognitive activities during the day to keep their minds active.
  10. Limiting Evening Screen Time: Encouraging clients to avoid using electronic devices with screens at least an hour before bedtime.

Nighttime Sleep Assistance

Overnight caregivers support our clients in a variety of helpful ways:

  1. Establishing Bedtime Routines: Helping clients stick to a consistent bedtime schedule, including routines like brushing teeth, changing into sleepwear, and setting up the bedroom environment (adjusting lighting, temperature, and noise levels to create a comfortable and conducive sleep environment).
  2. Monitoring and Safety Checks: Conducting regular checks throughout the night to ensure clients are safe and comfortable, especially those with mobility issues or prone to wandering.
  3. Assisting with Toileting: Helping clients with nighttime bathroom visits to prevent falls and ensure they can return to bed safely.
  4. Providing Reassurance: Offering comfort and reassurance to clients who may experience anxiety or fear during the night.
  5. Managing Health Conditions: Assisting with the use of CPAP machines for sleep apnea or other medical equipment necessary.
  6. Mobility Assistance: Helping clients reposition in bed or move to and from bed to prevent discomfort and bedsores.
  7. Communication with Family: Keeping family members informed about the client’s nighttime needs and any changes in their sleep patterns.
  8. Documentation: Recording any sleep disturbances or issues to provide accurate information to healthcare providers or family members.
  9. Reading or Calming Activities: Engaging clients in calming activities like reading a book or listening to soothing music to help them fall asleep.
  10. Emergency Response: Being prepared to respond to emergencies, such as falls or medical issues, and ensuring clients receive prompt assistance if needed.

Addressing sleep issues is vital for overall health and well-being. Consistently obtaining a good night’s sleep enhances clarity, focus, and reduces the risk of dementia. Prioritize your sleep and enjoy the benefits of well-deserved rest!

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