Tips on How to Care for an Elderly Loved One Overnight

You hear your father call out from the other room and you get up for the third time tonight to go to his room to help him get up to use the washroom. You blearily look at the clock and wonder if you should try and go back to bed for a few hours of sleep or get up to get an early start to the day before you have to leave for work. You take a deep breath to find your patience and peace while you help your father navigate the dark hallway.

This is the reality for families around the world. Many people must choose to balance their lifestyle and job alongside this caregiver role. There are a variety of conditions that create a frequent need for assistance during the night. A few conditions that hinder a senior’s good night sleep are insomnia, overactive bladder, chronic pain, and dementia conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. While these conditions require assistance, there are procedures you can put in place to create a safe space that meets the needs of your elderly loved one, while keeping them as independent as possible. This ensures their care while also allowing you the opportunity of a full night’s rest.

Tips for Overnight Care

  • Insomnia – Insomnia refers to chronically disrupted sleep. There are a variety of reasons why some seniors suffer from insomnia such as starting new medications. Therefore, if your elderly loved one has suddenly begun having trouble sleeping, consulting their family doctor for an evaluation can assist in medication management.
    A tangible practice that can help your elderly loved one sleep is ensuring an environment that is conducive to sleeping. Make sure the bedrooms have furniture like a comfortable chair and low-level lights for non-stimulating activities like reading, puzzles or knitting. Non-stimulating activities allow the mind to process the day and wind down to get ready for sleep, while activities with screens like tablets are often too stimulating and contain blue light emissions which activate parts of their brain which interpret it as daylight.
  • Overactive Bladder – If your elderly loved one has recently developed acute and frequent urination, you should begin by consulting their doctor to ensure the senior does not suffer from a urinary tract infection (UTI) or another condition that requires medical attention. Seniors often do not process their nerve receptors effectively and may not recognize the pain of a UTI when urinating even if they have the infection.
    If a UTI or another treatable condition has been ruled out, the senior may still need to relieve themselves at night. Therefore, you can accommodate the process by investing in a portable bedside commode or toilet chair. These items can make it more accessible for seniors to urinate independently at night without the risk of navigating the dark house.
  • Chronic Pain – Ageing can bring chronic aches and pains. These ongoing pains can make it too uncomfortable to sleep through the night. The first step is always to consult their doctor to pinpoint the cause of pain and prescribe medication or physical therapy to alleviate the pain. If pain is not able to be addressed medically, then having comfort items like functional pillows and adjustable mattresses can help them find a more comfortable sleeping position. There are a variety of positions and combinations using pillows that can assist in creating a comfortable sleeping position. Trial and error of these positions and pillows may lead to a golden combination for sleeping.
  • Alzheimer’s Disease – Seniors with Alzheimer’s disease may engage in dementia-related behaviors at night. Wandering and rummaging are a few behaviors to look out for. Wandering can be dangerous so installing a baby monitor that alters you of movement outside their bedroom can help you feel secure about their whereabouts. Rummaging is not a dangerous behavior as long as you can control the items they are going through. Often seniors may rummage at night because of anxiety, so removing all dangerous items can keep them safe. Seniors may have preferences for what they sort through, so creating a rummage bag full of soft comfort items like socks can help them enjoy their rummaging and manage the behavior. Ensure you have adequate safety measures in place to keep them in their area and discourage wandering or looking for more dangerous items.

Primary caregivers give so much to their elderly loved ones; however, you cannot pour from an empty cup. Family caregivers who suffer from ongoing poor sleep quality have a higher risk of developing mental and physical illnesses. If your elderly love one still is restless at night and it is causing you to be chronically fatigued, then hiring an overnight home care worker can lift the burden of the night shift and allow you the time to rest properly. This is especially helpful if your elderly loved one has engaged in dangerous behavior like wandering and requires the extra measure of safety. As well, a lot of restlessness stems from medical conditions. And some medication routines require overnight care. By hiring an overnight home care worker, you can meet the needs of your elderly loved one while also getting the rest you need. We are our best selves when we are rested, and you and your elderly loved one deserve you to be at your best. For more information about our overnight care service please contact us today!

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