Fatigue in older adults

Feelings of exhaustion can seem to be a common occurrence for many of us. The alarm goes off too early, the demands of everyday life are taxing, and by the end of the day, as soon as we can once and for all sink into bed, it can be difficult to shut down our thoughts to obtain a restful night’s sleep. Yet after we do get a full night’s sleep, we wake up feeling invigorated and ready to take on the world.

For older adults, however, there are numerous factors that may lead to chronic fatigue – a condition that is not as easily remedied. As March is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Awareness Month, the elder care professionals at Morning Glory Home Care have the facts you need to know to understand chronic fatigue in older adults, and to help manage it.

Reasons Behind Chronic Fatigue

  • A range of medical conditions, including cancer, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, COPD, kidney and liver disease
  • Prescription drug side effects, such as from antihistamines, antidepressants, and pain or nausea meds
  • Medical treatments, including surgical procedures and recovery, chemotherapy, and radiation
  • Sleep apnea or any other sleep difficulties
  • Anemia
  • Infections
  • Emotional challenges, like those experienced in depression and anxiety
  • Grief
  • Feelings of despondency or loss of control in life
  • Financial or personal stress
  • Unhealthy eating and exercise habits
  • And many others

Frequently, a doctor can address the underlying causes of chronic fatigue, so it’s a good idea to schedule a checkup and consultation if a senior you love is trying to cope with some of the issues above.

Simple Tips to Help

In addition, the following suggestions can help with conquering fatigue:

  • Maintain a log that documents when the senior feels most energetic, and most fatigued.
  • Add more physical activity into the senior’s daily routine. (Make sure to get authorization from his or her doctor before starting or altering any exercise programs.)
  • Change sleeping habits to eliminate naps longer than 30 minutes, and especially napping in the late afternoon/early evening, to allow for better sleep throughout the night.
  • Quit – or never start – smoking, which is proven to cause a variety of medical problems that can drain energy.
  • Encourage your older loved one to speak to an experienced counselor, to address and sort out stress, anxiety, depression, or other emotional difficulties.
  • Allow plenty of time for fun! Laughter is a fantastic, natural, energy and mood booster.
  • Designate set times each day for relaxing – listening to peaceful music, reading, meditation or prayer, or enjoying a favorite soothing hobby, such as knitting or working on puzzles.

Morning Glory Home Care is always available to provide additional strategies to beat fatigue and to make life more enjoyable for seniors. Contact us at 618-667-8400 to request a no-cost in-home consultation and to learn more about our professional care team and our top-rated elder care in Edwardsville, IL and the surrounding communities.