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Insomnia in the Elderly

We all want that feeling of getting out of bed well rested after a great night’s sleep. However, for older adults getting adequate sleep is a struggle. As adequate sleep is required to rejuvenate the body, it’s important to know the best options to treat insomnia.

Let’s take a look at insomnia and the options to help your loved one.

The Misconception

Insomnia is a disorder that plagues many people, the numbers increasing with age. Many believe inadequate sleep is just something to be accepted. This misconception is one that Preeti Malani, M.D., Chief Health Officer and Professor of Medicine at the University of Michigan wants to dispel. According to Dr. Malani, “If older adults believe that these changes are a normal, inevitable part of aging, they may not think of it as something to discuss with their doctor. And not discussing it can potentially lead to health issues not being identified and managed.”

Treatment

The initial step in addressing sleep concerns for seniors is to talk to a physician. The physician can give advice on how to improve sleep and rule out any underlying conditions such as depression, anxiety, restless legs syndrome, and heart disease. He/she may prescribe medication, however, medication may not be the best option. Safer alternatives may include:

  • Restrict alcohol and caffeine, especially in the afternoon and evening.
  • Keep all electronic devices out of the bedroom and keep the sleeping environment dark and cool.
  • Set a sleeping pattern and adhere to it, sleeping and waking up at the same time every day.
  • Engage the services of a sleep therapist for cognitive behavioral therapy.

The Risks

About 40% of elderly adults are relying on insomnia medication. For this reason, it’s extremely important to also know the risks associated with such medication. Dizziness and disorientation is a common side effect, so the risk of falls and fractures, as well as car accidents increases. Seniors may also be at risk of becoming dependent on these types of medications.

Herbal remedies and supplements can also cause unwanted effects. Melatonin, for example, can cause dizziness and nausea and may interact with prescriptions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure medications.

Hope

New research and studies are coming out and as a result, new treatment options are coming to light. There’s no need to accept the misconception that adequate sleep is impossible to achieve. Ask for help to find the solution for you or your loved one.

Comprehensive Home Care, the number one choice for the expert companion care Charlotte seniors rely on, can help in a variety of ways. Our fully trained and experienced in-home caregivers can certainly help seniors stay active during the day with exercise programs, fun outings, and much more, setting the stage for an improved night’s sleep. Give us a call at 704-333-5214 or contact us online for more information.

Ask These Questions Before Hiring a Home Care Specialist

Hiring a home care specialist is useful when your loved one prefers to stay in a more active lifestyle while needing assistance with things around the home. There are a few guidelines you can follow to ensure that your loved one is cared for in the best way possible. These questions are a great way to find out which specialist is best for your family member.

Consider these questions before choosing a home care specialist:

  • What specific experience and certification do you have in caring for the elderly?

This question is so important because it gives an overview of the person’s background and qualifications. The way they present their experience will show how they feel about the elderly care they provide. The qualifications should already be in place if you are considering any home care specialist. To ensure proper care and a nurturing environment, it is important to ensure that the home care specialist is more than just qualified. The specialist should also enjoy giving care to those who cannot care for themselves.

  • What references do you have in regards to specifically caring for elderly patients with illnesses such as dementia and Parkinson’s disease?

The references will provide a frame of time for the experience presented and also a backup for honest feedback.

  • How would you handle emergency situations during after-hours?

This gauges the specialist’s ability to handle situations that may occur during times you may not be readily available. It is important to have emergency protocols and to know that the home care specialist is comfortable with addressing issues and prepared with the necessary procedures and practices.

Comprehensive Home Care provides the necessary processes and background checks to find the right fit for your loved one. We specialize in caring for those who need assistance taking care of themselves. This includes: the elderly, those who have an illnesses, disorder, or injury, pregnant women, and new mothers.

Read How to Narrow Down Your Home Care Search for more advice.

Planning a Family Meeting to Discuss Home Care

Home care is used to provide the care of a loved one who is unable to fully provide for themselves, yet still stable and mentally sound enough to be at home and out of the nursing home. For many people, this type of care provides far greater happiness and prolongs their lifetime and that is just the start of the exciting benefits. Even still there are drawbacks that must be considered if this is a method of care that you are considering. Before deciding if home care is the right option for your loved one it is important to plan a family meeting with the immediate members of your family. This is a big decision and everyone should be able to voice their thoughts, concerns, and hopes freely.

Preparing for a family meeting


When preparing for your family meeting make sure that you inform family members as far in advance as possible. Everyone’s schedules differ, and sometimes it can be difficult to find a time when everyone is able to come together. When informing family members of the meeting you should plan for a two-hour time slot, although it might take slightly less time. Once a time has been arranged, choose a location for the meeting. If your home is large enough this is perfectly fine. It should be comfortable so everyone is able to talk openly. Make sure that the loved one being considered for home care is present during the meeting. After all, it is him or her that will be receiving the care so their say really matters the most. Also, the home care agency caregiver or staff member should be present to help you learn more about the service and the different options available.

Things to discuss at the family meeting

  • Cost. Insurance will usually not cover the costs of this type of care so it is the responsibility of loved ones to cover the fees. Consider how you will pay, how much each person can put forth, etc. Also, take into consideration during your meeting:
  • Duration. How long/often will you require home care for your loved one? You can arrange services for part-time or full-time, or on as –needed basis.
  • Capability of the senior. Is your loved one still able to partially caring for themselves? Patients who are best-suited for home services are those who still have such capabilities.
  • Needs of the senior. Discuss with the caregiver the needs of your loved ones. Caregivers can provide a little or they can provide a lot, depending upon the need. Ensure the chosen agency is capable of handling those needs. Not all agencies provide the same levels of care.
  • Questions/concerns. Give each family member time to ask their own questions as they arise.

Comprehensive Home Care can provide help during these meetings. Contact us here or call at 704.333.5214 with any questions or care needs.