Category: Relieving Stress

Alarm Clock

The Risks of Sleep Deprivation in the Elderly & Their Caregivers

Older adults need about the same amount of sleep as people in their 20s, but many elderly people get much less sleep than they need. Common causes of insomnia or trouble sleeping can include health issues such as the pain from arthritis, some medications, and the need for frequent urination. Sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome are also more likely in seniors. A cause we don’t often hear about is that as we age, our body’s internal clock adjusts to earlier sleep and wakeup times. If seniors stay up late, they are likely to wake up at their usual early hour, thus experiencing the side-effects of a sleep-deprived day. While sleep requirements vary slightly for each person, most healthy adults require seven to nine hours of sleep per night. How you feel in the morning is a better indication of what you need. Frequently waking up not feeling rested or feeling tired and wanting to sleep during the day are the best signs that you’re not getting enough sleep. Disturbed sleep and waking up tired are not part of normal aging. It’s important to get to the root cause of sleepless nights because not getting enough sleep carries with it several important health risks and concerns. Sleep deprivation can: Take a toll on nearly every part of your life, no matter how old or young you are. Be as dangerous for drivers as alcohol consumption, adding to the risks affecting a senior’s ability to be a safe driver. Make falls and other accidents more likely. Increase the risk of diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and other health issues. Cause depression, attention, and memory problems. Increase the risk of neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, and potentially speed their progression. Research suggests that poor sleep can cause dementia and dementia can

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Flowers with smiley faces in the middle

How the SMILE Technique Eases the Challenges of Senior Personal Care

Take a moment to close your eyes and visualize yourself like this: You have spent most of your life taking care of and assisting others – as a parent, in your profession, by volunteering in your community, and as a grandparent. After a lifetime of living independently and being in control of making your own decisions, you’ve unexpectedly aged to the point that you now are the person in need of help with bathing and other senior personal care tasks. Imagine the sense of loss, vulnerability, and fear. If you’re taking care of a senior loved one, it can be helpful to place yourself in their shoes when experiencing problems related to helping the person with personal hygiene tasks. The struggles your loved one is feeling are real, and a little patience and empathy can go a long way towards promoting a sense of peace about accepting your help. Let’s face it: permitting someone to help with such personal services as bathing, dressing, and bathroom needs is awkward at best, and can feel as though dignity is ripped right away from the person if not managed sensitively. At Dakota Home Care, we’re very familiar with these challenges, and suggest keeping the SMILE concept in mind to help these sensitive situations feel more comfortable for both you and your senior loved one: Safety: Assistive devices such as electric razors, grab bars, a bathtub chair and a handheld shower can be beneficial. Modesty: Ensure privacy in the room and maintain modesty as much as possible. Independence: Empower seniors to retain the ability to make choices, to express their own personal style, and to do as much as they are able to independently. Levity: Be accepting of imperfection. Make it fun. Etiquette: Treat the individual with dignity, as a respected adult. Dakota Home

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family caregivers

How Family Caregivers Can Relieve Stress During the Holidays with Respite Care

We’ve written before about Caregiver Burnout and Ten Tips to Help the Elderly and their Caregivers Enjoy the Holidays. But zeroing in on family caregiver stress—what it is and how to cope with it—can be a vital part of self-care and burnout prevention, especially during the busy holiday season. The first step to relieving stress is to recognize when you are feeling it in a negative way, and what is causing those feelings. Stress can be described in a number of different ways: Stress can feel like the inability to cope with a real or imagined threat to your mental and emotional well-being. You could compare the effect on your body to a “fight or flight” response. Stressors can be physiological or emotional events that you perceive to be stressful or out of your comfort zone. What is stressful for one person might not be stressful for another. Stress can have a short-term or a long-term (chronic) negative effect on your mind and body. Stress can occur when the mind-body-spirit connection is out of balance. Negative thoughts can cause a physical response that makes your spirit feel “down” or even makes you physically sick. A person who becomes a family caregiver experiences large and small changes in their life that may continue over time, and make a normally busy time, like the holidays, even more stressful. Identifying stressors that are a result of your role as caregiver, added to the stress of the holidays, can be the first step to relieving your stress. These can be physical, social, emotional or economic. It can be helpful to make a list of what your stressors are. Some of the more common ones include: The loss of time for leisure activities, time for yourself, sleep, healthy eating or exercise Worries about finances: suddenly

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