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Sleep and Alzheimer’s Disease: 5 Ways to Improve Senior Rest

Alzheimer’s disease is a difficult disease that an increasing amount of seniors struggle with. Different from the usual forgetfulness that many seniors experience, Alzheimer’s is a disease that feels like it slowly takes away your loved one. They struggle with everyday tasks, forget major appointments, and start to misremember who the people in their lives are. 

Another major struggle that seniors with Alzheimer’s face is with getting enough rest. A large amount of seniors with Alzheimer’s experience something called “sundowning,” which, in short, is when seniors get confused about what time of day it is. They may believe that the middle of the night is the middle of the day instead, causing their internal clocks to get confused about when they’re actually supposed to be sleeping. 

Here are some helpful tips and tricks you can try to help get your loved ones on a more regular schedule – ones that are employed by Serra Sol’s team at our Memory Care Community in San Juan Capistrano. The next time you’re trying to help your senior loved one get more rest, try these tips: 

1. Help your loved one get exercise every day

Everyone needs to exercise, no matter your age, health, or weight. It doesn’t have to be strenuous exercise; however, exercise is one of the easiest and most important ways that you can improve your body’s physical health. 

Exercise is also tiring, meaning that when you exercise, your body feels the need to lie down and get some rest at the end of the day. You’re expending energy to exercise, which you need sleep to recharge. By encouraging your senior loved one to exercise during the day, you’re encouraging good sleeping habits, because your senior is going to want to rest at the end of the day. Plus, the tiredness they feel from the workout will help them to go to sleep and stay asleep. 

2. Set the mood in the evening to get the vibes right

Getting a good night’s rest should be part of a larger routine. For some people, it’s easy to just turn the television off, lay down in bed, and immediately go right to sleep. For others, they need a whole routine in order to get the mood right for a good night’s sleep. 

Promote good sleeping habits by having a steady nighttime routine. Start turning out the lights at least half an hour before and get your loved one changed into comfortable pajamas. Aromatherapy is also a great choice for promoting good sleep, so filling your diffuser with a calming lavender scent is also going to promote a good night’s rest. Instead of being on phones or watching TV, try a calm, screen-free activity like reading to settle down at the end of the day. 

The combination of all of these factors is an easy way to help set the mood for a good, restful sleep. While our incredible staff at our memory care community San Juan Capistrano may not be able to take each and every one of these steps, this is a restful sleep tactic that’s easy to enact and has a great payoff. 

3. Review medications 

There are several medications that your senior loved one may take that can affect their sleep patterns. If you notice that your senior loved one is having trouble sleeping when they never had trouble sleeping before, take a look at the side effects of their medication. The trouble sleeping that they’re having may be caused by one of the medications they’re taking.

If nothing is working to help them get better sleep, try reaching out to their doctor. They may have an alternative medicine option that does not have the same sleeping side effects.

4. Stay active during the day – earlier in the day is better

Just like exercise, keeping active during the day is a great way to help your senior stay on a regular sleeping schedule. Just like how you feel tired and worn after a long day, your seniors will too. This doesn’t mean that you should go out and take your senior loved one on a big grand adventure every day. Instead, think of small activities every day that your seniors can do to help make them tired at the end of the day.

For example, many memory care communities like the memory care community at San Juan Capistrano offer plenty of fun activities for your senior loved one to enjoy. Your loved one can get up and be active at a new art class, a chair yoga class, or even playing games with the other residents. There’s never any shortage of activities to complete!

At the end of the day, when the fun is over, your loved one will be ready to get a good night’s sleep. 

5. Try to limit caffeine intake

Just like you wouldn’t drink a cup of coffee right before you go to bed, it’s not a good idea for your seniors to do that either. Seniors shouldn’t have caffeinated drinks before bed – and that includes caffeinated sodas, and many teas, which also have caffeine. 

If your loved one is a big fan of tea before bed, encourage them to try a calming blend like chamomile. This is a delicious drink that won’t add any additional caffeine, and can help to get them in the right headspace for bedtime.

Helping Your Loved One at Our Memory Care Community in San Juan Capistrano

Having a good night’s sleep is one of the most important ways for anyone to stay healthy. A lack of proper sleep can lead to countless more physical and mental health problems. For seniors, who already struggle with memory concerns, lack of sleep can only exacerbate the problem.

That’s why here, at our memory care community in San Juan Capistrano, we promote healthy sleep habits for all of our residents. Our tried and true tricks can help your loved one to get to sleep that they need.
If you’re interested in seeing what Serra Sol can do for you, contact us and schedule a tour today!