If you’re a family caregiver to an older adult with dementia, you probably feel tired frequently. That may be especially true if you provide overnight care. Have you ever wondered just how much sleep you lose as a dementia caregiver? Well, some scientists wondered the same thing, so they conducted a study to find out. The results may surprise you.
About the Dementia Caregiver Study
The study was conducted by researchers at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Using data from 35 previous studies, the researchers discovered that dementia caregivers typically lost between 2.5 and 3.5 hours of sleep each week. While that may not sound like a lot, it adds up as time passes and results in sleep deprivation.
The researchers believe that the loss of sleep was even more significant when taking into account the other negative aspects of being a caregiver. Lack of sleep can affect cognition, but so can the stress and sadness involved in being a caregiver, which adds to the negative impact of caregiving on the brain. The lack of sleep and its effect on the brain could result in offering a depleted quality of care. For example, feeling tired might cause the caregiver to forget a dose of medication the older adult needs.
The researchers suggested that making some lifestyle changes could improve sleep for caregivers, helping them to fall asleep faster and stay asleep. One of the things that might help is to get more daytime exposure to sunlight. Establishing a regular daily routine of getting up and going to bed at the same time each day can also help.
How to Help Seniors with Dementia Sleep Better So You Can, Too
In addition to the caregiver practicing better sleep habits, it’s also a good idea to find ways to help seniors with dementia to sleep better, too. After all, one of the reasons dementia caregivers don’t sleep at night is because they get up with the older adult. Some things that may help the older adult to sleep better are:
- Stick to a regular routine for getting up, going to bed, and mealtimes.
- Include some exercise in each day to help tire the older adult out.
- Make the bedroom as comfortable as possible. Pay attention to the temperature of the room. A room that is too hot or too cold is difficult to sleep in.
- Don’t turn on the television when the senior awakens at night. Instead, try turning on some soothing music.
Sometimes, despite all the tips and tricks, seniors with dementia just don’t sleep well. One way that family caregivers can ensure they don’t miss out on sleep because of it is to hire home care to spend the overnight hours with their aging relative. That way, you wake up refreshed each morning and are better able to tend to the older adult with a positive attitude.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring Senior Care in Bellmore, NY, please call the caring staff at Companion Home Care of Long Island. Senior Home Care serving Suffolk, Nassau and Queens Counties. Turn your questions into answers. Call Today (631) 884-0005
Dorothy’s core expertise includes an extensive background of more than 38 years, focusing on Home Care, Senior Care and operating a successful in-home care agency.
In her spare time she enjoys her 5 grandchildren, gardening, skiing and competition 8-Ball.
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