3. Medication problems. Many older people take more than one medicine to improve their physical and mental health. In fact, it’s estimated that Americans aged 65 and over take an average of four prescription drugs at any given time! Medicines can have unwanted side effects, and taking more than one medicine at the same time can make these side effects worse. One of the most common side effects of prescription drugs is drowsiness. In particular, medications for conditions such as anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, chronic pain, and allergies can all cause excessive sleepiness. If you think your loved one can sleep all day because of their medication, talk to their doctor about alternative treatment options.
4. Progression of dementia. Older people with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia often have trouble sleeping. Although older people experience changes in their circadian rhythms, dementia can cause particularly serious problems. Sunset, a symptom experienced by many dementia patients, consists of feelings of restlessness, restlessness, and confusion that begin or worsen as the daylight fades. Sunset can cause dementia patients to have difficulty sleeping through the night, and they may sleep during the day to compensate.
While there is no sure-fire way to beat the sunset, the Alzheimer’s Association recommends sticking to a consistent routine as the most effective way to encourage good sleep habits. For local resources for people with dementia and their caregivers, visit the Memory Counseling Program at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, wakehealth.edu/Locations/Clinics/m/Memory-Counseling-Program-Sticht-Center.