Thursday, February 23, 2012

Managing a Routine with those with Alzheimers

If your elderly loved one suffers from Alzheimer's Disease, they probably find it difficult to get a good night's sleep and stick to a regular routine. It has been suggested that Alzheimer's Disease can actually reverse the sleep-wake cycle, causing elderly individuals to become tired during the day and active at night. If you are the primary care provider for your elderly loved one, this lack of a routine may become exhausting and dangerous, as they may become prone to wandering the house at night.

When trying to establish a routine, keep these tips from the Mayo Clinic in mind:

  1. Institute a schedule and stick to it. This tip encompasses creating routines for different parts of the day. For example, waking up at a set time, eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the same time each day, and going to bed at the same time every night. Every activity may have its own routine surrounding it, such as the brushing of teeth and changing into pajamas before bed. These routines will help your elderly loved one keep track of the time of day and help their bodies to know when it is time to sleep.
  2. Discourage long or late naps. Taking short naps early in the day can be healthy, but longer naps later in the day can throw off your elderly loved one's sleep cycle. Additionally, encourage your elderly loved one to nap in places other than the bed, such as the couch or a comfortable chair.
  3. Limit caffeine and alcohol. These substances can contribute to sleeplessness and confusion, and should be ingested sparingly by individuals who have Alzheimer's Disease.
  4. Spend time outside. Exposure to light has been shown to help regulate sleep cycles. Try taking walks after breakfast or enjoying the weather from the porch. Light therapy may also be recommended by your elderly loved one's doctor.

Maintaining a regular sleep cycle and daily routine may be difficult if your elderly loved one has Alzheimer's Disease—both for them and for you. Remember, by reinforcing the routine you have set you may be able to help your elderly loved one get a good night's rest.

No comments:

Post a Comment