Springing our clocks forward left a lot of us feeling sluggish from losing that extra hour of sleep. But before too long, our bodies have adjusted to the time change and life goes on. Imagine, however, feeling exhausted and lethargic most of the time, no matter how much you sleep. Chronic fatigue in older adults is a troublesome reality and can be difficult to overcome.
Home With You Senior Care, a highly rated provider of award-winning senior home care in Columbia, MD and the surrounding areas, shares some of the contributing factors to chronic fatigue in older adults:
Health conditions, such as cancer, heart problems, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, among others
- Medication side effects
- Sleep disorders
- Depression, anxiety, and grief
- Boredom and loneliness
- Unhealthy lifestyle choices, like a poor diet, inadequate physical activity, or an excessive amount of alcohol
There are a number of strategies older adults can try to regain energy throughout the day. A great starting point is writing down the times every day when the fatigue is most impactful. Is it before/after eating? Immediately upon getting out of bed? After a prolonged period of watching television? After taking particular medications?
Understanding the patterns of fatigue will help pinpoint the main cause, and then you can see if some of these tactics help alleviate it:
- Schedule a checkup. Bring the senior’s fatigue journal with you and review it with his or her physician to rule out any underlying conditions and provide recommendations to help.
- Create – and adhere to – an exercise routine. Exercise strengthens the heart, lungs, and muscles while boosting mood, appetite, and overall outlook on life.
- Skip the naps. This is certainly challenging for an older adult with chronic fatigue, but avoiding naps, particularly later in the afternoon, will help foster a far better night’s sleep.
- Quit smoking. Smoking can cause a host of medical problems that deplete energy levels. A doctor can help with an older adult’s nicotine addiction as needed.
- Seek therapy. Talking through life’s difficulties with a professional therapist is a fantastic way to relieve stress, often leading to better sleep patterns. The therapist may also recommend calming techniques like mindfulness, meditation, prayer, or deep breathing exercises a senior can do at home.
In addition, it is helpful to realize that the foods an individual eats can play a significant role in chronic fatigue in older adults. Alicia Arbaje, MD, MPH, a geriatrician at Johns Hopkins, says, “Packaged, processed foods tend to make you feel sluggish and heavy.” Fresh, whole foods are best, along with those containing vitamin B12, found in nondairy fortified milks and animal proteins.
Let Home With You Senior Care help an older adult you love with chronic fatigue. We can ensure medications are being taken correctly, prepare nutritious meals, provide motivation to stay physically active, and offer friendly companionship along the way. Our home care customer satisfaction ratings are among the highest in our industry. Email or call us to schedule a free in-home consultation at 410-756-0959 and to learn more about how our award-winning senior home care in Columbia, MD, and nearby areas can provide a sunnier outlook on life for older adults at home.