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. For older adults experiencing chronic fatigue, it’s a frustrating reality and can be challenging to overcome.
- Medical conditions, such as cancer, heart problems, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and others
- Medication side effects
- Sleep problems
- Anxiety, depression, and grief
- Boredom and loneliness
- Unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as a poor diet, inadequate physical activity, or an excessive amount of alcohol
There are several strategies seniors can try to regain energy during the day. An excellent starting point is writing down the times each day when the fatigue is most significant. Is it before/after eating? Immediately upon getting up? Following an extended period of watching television? After taking certain medications?
Understanding the patterns of fatigue can help pinpoint the cause, and then you can determine if any of these strategies help alleviate it:
- Schedule a checkup. Bring the older adult’s fatigue diary with you and review it together with his or her doctor to rule out any underlying conditions and provide recommendations to help.
- Create – and adhere to – an exercise routine. Exercise strengthens the lungs, heart, and muscles while boosting appetite, mood, and overall outlook on life.
- Skip the naps. This is especially hard for a senior with chronic fatigue, but avoiding naps, particularly later in the day, can help promote an improved night’s sleep.
- Quit smoking. Smoking can cause a number of medical problems that deplete energy levels. A doctor can help with a senior’s nicotine addiction if needed.
- Seek counseling. Talking through life’s challenges with a professional therapist is a great way to alleviate stress, often leading to improved sleep patterns. The therapist may also recommend calming techniques, such as meditation, mindfulness, prayer, or deep breathing exercises the senior can do at home.
It’s important to recognize that the foods an older individual eats can be one of the many causes of extreme tiredness in the elderly. Alicia Arbaje, MD, MPH, a geriatrician with Johns Hopkins, explains, “Packaged, processed foods tend to make you feel sluggish and heavy.” Fresh, whole foods are best, together with those containing vitamin B12, found in nondairy fortified milks and animal proteins.
Let Live Free Home Health Care help a senior you love with chronic fatigue. We are able to ensure medications are being taken correctly, prepare healthy meals, provide motivation to stay physically active, and offer friendly companionship along the way. We also have high customer satisfaction ratings from both our clients and their loved ones. Contact us for a free in-home consultation at 603-217-0149 for more information about how our award-winning home care in Concord, NH, and the surrounding areas can provide a brighter outlook on life for older adults at home.