In addition to Alzheimer’s having an effect on a person’s speech, memory, and behavior patterns, it can also cause changes in sleep patterns. These shifts and disruptions in sleep patterns can, in turn, create a cycle of more noticeable changes during waking hours. Therefore, if you provide in-home care for an elderly loved one with Alzheimer’s, it is important to know the causes of sleep issues for those with Alzheimer’s, as well as how to address them.
The sleep-wake cycle for Alzheimer’s individuals sometimes gets reversed. As a result, your loved one may feel as if they should sleep during the day, and will often remain awake at night. As a caregiver, you’ll want to pay close attention to the natural lighting outside, the current season, and length of daylight hours so you can make any necessary adjustments to indoor living areas to help your loved one identify when it’s night and when it’s day. This will help them to maintain a regular routine of waking and sleeping times.
Alzheimer’s care specialists also recommend that seniors with Alzheimer’s get plenty of light in the early morning to help the body recognize the time of day, while also boosting mood and energy levels. Light therapy is also another option should your loved one be unable to go or stay outside because of other health or mobility issues. If your loved one feels the need to nap during the day, encourage him or her to nap on the couch or sofa. This will help them associate their bed with nighttime sleep.
Nighttime and the dark can be disorienting times for anyone, let alone someone with Alzheimer’s. Shadows can appear scary and confusing, causing your loved one to feel anxious and unable to sleep. The Alzheimer’s Society also reports that those with Alzheimer’s commonly misidentify what they see, or view it in a distorted way. Darkness amplifies these types of visuoperceptual issues.
Before bedtime, make sure that your loved one has someone to accompany him or her to the bed. This can help to ensure that your loved one does not misinterpret anything, and that they are able to reach their bed safely. If you are unable to provide daily care for your loved one in the evenings, consider help from professional Denton County hourly caregiver who can assist with nighttime, overnight and daily activities, providing both you and your loved one with peace of mind.
In addition to understanding that the person in your care is experiencing physical and cognitive changes, make modifications to their evening routine to minimize the need to get up during the night. Be sure that your loved one uses the restroom before going to bed for the night, reduce or eliminate caffeine consumption in the late afternoon and evening, and consider having a routine that involves reading a book or listening to soothing music before drifting off to sleep.
For more information about caring for a senior with Alzheimer’s, reach out to the Denton County Alzheimer’s care experts at Home Care Assistance. Our highly trained Alzheimer’s caregivers help seniors with cognitive conditions age safely in place, offering hourly and live-in are, companionship and emotional support. Our caregivers are also trained in our exclusive Cognitive Therapeutics Method, an in-home program designed to boost mental acuity and quality of life. To learn more about this unique in-home program or to request a complimentary, no-obligation consultation, call 972-468-6010 today.