How to Help a Senior Experiencing Parkinson’s-Related Sleep Problems

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Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease can make the simple act of sleep very difficult for some seniors. The lack of sleep can exaggerate existing symptoms, hamper the effectiveness of Parkinson’s treatment, and, of course, leave your senior loved one feeling worn out the following day. As a Placer County Parkinson’s home care provider, it’s important to know what causes PD sleeplessness and find ways to help your senior loved one get adequate rest.

Parkinson’s Influenced Sleep Disturbances

  • Insomnia
  • Intense dreams/nightmares
  • Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep disorder
  • Nocturia (frequent urination throughout night)
  • Uncontrollable daytime sleep episodes
  • Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)

Possible Sleep Remedies for Seniors with Parkinson’s

  •  Stay awake during daytime hours. If a nap is necessary, it should be short (no more than an hour) and taken before mid-afternoon. Napping should be done at a similar time daily to reinforce routine and help the body adjust to being awake later in the day.
  • Avoid the use of stimulants after mid-afternoon. Examples include alcohol, caffeinated beverages and nicotine. Caffeine can stay active in a person’s system for up to six hours after it’s ingested, and achieving and maintaining sleep is more likely without stimulants traveling through the body.
  • Establish a regular sleep and wake schedule. By retiring every evening and waking every morning at an appointed time, the body tends to regulate its own circadian rhythms. A trained internal clock will encourage fewer interruptions and more sleep. If necessary, an hourly caregiver in Placer County can help your loved one establish and adhere to a daily routine.
  • Use the bed for sleeping only. Though many seniors may enjoy reading or watching television in bed, the body and mind need to associate the act of sleep with being in bed. Move the TV out of the room and, if there is enough space, set up a comfortable chair for reading.
  • Keep a soothing bedtime routine. Nightly rituals can be comforting and aid relaxation. Brushing teeth, taking a warm bath or eating a light healthy snack are examples of simple regular nighttime tasks that can signal the body’s natural response to want sleep.
  • Have a physician review medications and dosage schedules. Sometimes small changes can make a substantial difference in sleep disturbances.

For more helpful ideas, or to learn how a Placer County caregiver can help establish routine and promote a high quality of life for your senior loved one, reach out to Placer County Home Care Assistance. Our caregivers are compassionate, highly trained, and available 24/7. Call a friendly and experienced Care Manager at (916) 226-3737 to schedule your complimentary, no-obligation consultation.

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