Many people in our survey mention concern that something might happen to their elderly parent during the night, as sleep often becomes worse as people get older. As age increases, deep sleep decreases and people sleep more lightly. So it’s common for older people to get up in the middle of the night. What can you do in that case as a carer?
As you get older, deep sleep is affected and you tend to sleep more lightly. According to a survey conducted in 2020 by the Public Health Agency of Sweden, sleeping problems are the most common problem experienced by the elderly. Light sleep can cause people to get up more during the night, which can in turn result in a greater risk of accidents for the elderly person, or a sense of poorer mental well-being due to tiredness. In our survey, many people said that they felt concerned about their parent’s sleep. So in this article, Josefin considers what you can do as a carer.
Reassure your parent
If you feel that your parent is concerned about not getting enough sleep, one good tip is to try and reassure your parent by saying that this is perfectly normal. You can also remind your parent to take a look at the room they sleep in, not to drink too much caffeine late in the evening, and that it can be helpful to take exercise and to get out in the daylight so they become tired.
Use the aids available
There are now aids that can make it easier for you as a carer to keep an eye on things, to make sure that nothing serious happens during the night. You can use Moxiam’s app to see whether your parent is getting up at night, and how many times. Over time, this tells you a great deal about how their health and well-being are developing.
Look at the layout in the home
When you’re tired and walking around in the dark, there’s an increased risk of injuries and falls. If you know that your parent is up and moving around a lot at night, it’s especially important to review your parent’s home environment. So make sure that it’s easy to move around in the home without tripping or bumping into anything.
If you suspect abnormal sleep patterns, go to the doctor
If you suspect that something is amiss with your parent’s sleep, it’s a good idea to contact a doctor. In such cases, some kind of sleeping remedy or CBT treatment might be useful. Another issue that can also cause sleep disruption is if you are experiencing incontinence problems (weak bladder). In this case too, it’s a good idea to have it diagnosed and to seek medical care.
If there’s anything you want us to deal with in the guide for carers – just let us know!