Older adults with dementia may face difficulties sleeping or staying in bed at night, and this insomnia and restlessness can pose challenges for caregivers looking after them. Having dementia and staying in bed at night can be challenging for this demographic group considering how the brain develops and changes with age, or when they experience sundowning caused by confusion, anxiety, or disorientation.
Read on as we discuss how you can ensure your loved ones with dementia stay in bed at night, and improve their sleep cycles with time.
Adopt A Fixed Schedule
Following a consistent schedule is one of the best ways to help your loved ones with dementia cope with restless nights and insomnia. This allows them to stay occupied throughout the day with activities, so when night time comes and it’s time to hit the bed, they would be too tired to think about anything else.
An example of a regular schedule looks like this – eating meals at consistent timings every day, waking and going to bed at regular times each day, having an hour of regular exercise, games time, or even nap time. Try planning out the schedule ahead of time to picture what the day will look like, for all you know, your loved ones may look forward to the day’s activities and feel more relaxed!
Monitor Their Nighttime Routine
Seniors need to establish a good nighttime routine that will help them calm down and relax, leading to bedtime. Consider avoiding overly exciting or long activities such as a two-hour horror film, games, and more. Stimulants like coffee and tea should also be avoided at all costs as they consist of caffeine which helps one stay awake most of the time.
Some advice to help your loved ones stay in bed at night includes preparing the environment for a night of good sleep – dimming the lights, playing soothing and relaxing music, and having a scented candle around to stimulate relaxation and calmness.
Studies have shown that engaging in regular exercises helps to reduce the severity of restlessness. This is because when you or your loved ones work out, regardless of age, you develop fatigue and simultaneously expend your energy.
Daily exercises that seniors can start with include walking about the neighborhood, walking to nearby supermarkets for a grocery run, or even spring cleaning the house moderately. No matter how intense or relaxed the physical activities are, some form of movement will be good to help you stay healthy.
Avoid Frequent Naps in the Day
Often, individuals who cannot sleep at night find that they’re taking too many naps during the day. To overcome this issue, consider reducing the daytime naps so that when it reaches nighttime, you would feel exhausted from the daytime activities and lack of sleep. Taking an afternoon is fine but avoid taking an overly long nap!
At Seaton Hagerstown, we offer a Memory Care living option to ensure dementia programming and specialized care in a surrounding that provides a homely sensation to our retirement community. Contact us to find out more about our memory care program and how you or your loved ones can benefit from our personalized care!