When people reach old age, their families may feel hesitant about having seniors be on their own during the nighttime. In such a situation, people might decide to get in-home care help by hiring an overnight caregiver for their elderly loved one. This ensures that the senior will have someone in their home available to provide assistance throughout the course of the night.
Elderly individuals need to get seven to nine hours of sleep on a nightly basis. This, however, can be a difficult task, because seniors have a habit of waking up in the middle of the night for various reasons.
Some seniors suffer from Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia and tend to wander, and this can be especially dangerous if it occurs during the middle of the night. Some seniors have issues with insomnia and cannot a good night’s rest. Some elderly individuals may have an overactive bladder that causes them to frequently wake at night to use the restroom.
No matter the reason, there are tips that overnight caregivers can use to make the nighttime easier for seniors — which, in turn, helps make their job easier.
Tips for Insomnia
If seniors are experiencing insomnia, it is important to provide them with calm, comforting activities they can do when they wake up. This can include having a low-light lamp with a cozy chair set up and ready for reading a book or doing a puzzle. The activity should be something that is calming and soothing, because it can help encourage sleep.
Furthermore, using electronics, such as a laptop or smart phone, should be avoided. This is because these devices emit a blue light that makes it more difficult for people to rest.
Knowing this, overnight caregivers should make sure that their clients have a cozy setup in their room with calming activities ready to do if they wake up often throughout the night.
Insomnia is common for seniors, and it can be caused by certain prescriptions. So insomnia is something elderly individuals should discuss with their doctor. This is especially the case if their insomnia occurs in a frequent, sudden manner.
Tips for Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia
Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia can be at fault for keeping affected seniors from getting a proper night’s rest on a regular basis. In such a case, seniors with dementia may wake up and wander or start to rummage.
Overnight caregivers need to keep a watchful eye out for the seniors they care for in case they wander. Communicate with them if they wake up and begin to wander. Figure out what they are thinking by asking what they are up to or if they need something. Do they need something to eat or drink? Do they need to use the bathroom?
It is also a good idea to place a night light in the senior’s room. Albeit small, this light source can not only help to prevent falls, tripping, and other accidents, but it can also reduce disorientation.
If seniors wake at night and tend to rummage through their personal contents and belongings, consider putting together a rummage bag that they can go through in such a case. The overnight caregiver can direct them to the bag and should let them rummage undisturbed.
The bag should contain objects they tend to handle. For example, if a senior tends to sort through the clothes in their closet when they rummage, include various pieces of clothing in the bag. It is also important to make sure no scissors and other dangerous objects are nearby or in the area that seniors can rummage with.
Tips for Frequent Urination
Waking up at night to use the restroom is normal. For seniors, one or two trips to the bathroom at night is common. But some elderly individuals have medical conditions that cause them to wake up to use the bathroom more often.
Nocturia, for example, is a condition that causes seniors to get up to urinate five to six times each night — over twice as many times as the norm. The condition can be a result of liver failure, a bladder tumor, poor diabetes control, and more. This can occur because the bladder’s holding capacity weakens as people age.
If overnight caregivers care for someone affected by frequent urination, then consider adding a bedside commode to their room. One of the greatest risks for seniors at night is the potential for falls, so it is not ideal for seniors to have to go out into a dark hallway to make a trip to the bathroom — even with help from their caregiver.
As such, consider getting a bedside commode if your elderly loved one experiences frequent urination. A commode is designed similarly to a chair and has handles, so it provides seniors with a safe, plausible option when they need to urinate during the night.
If they have not already, the affected senior should also speak with their doctor to discuss their problem.
Tips for Pain
Chronic pain can be common for seniors, which can make sleeping soundly through the night tough to do. Affected elderly individuals should speak with their doctor. They can either prescribe medications to help with the pain or provide other suggestions, such as sleeping area adjustments. For example, seniors may need more pillows or a mattress topper that provides additional support.
Senior Home Care Services from Assisting Hands
If you have an elderly loved one who should not be left alone at night, Assisting Hands Home Care can help them through our in-home care services in Richmond, VA, and the surrounding areas. Overnight caregivers will come to the senior’s home at night to provide care and assistance. With help from our senior home care services, elderly individuals and their families can feel safer at night, knowing someone is available to help with restroom trips and other overnight care needs.