- Right at Home Canada -
Published By Right at Home Niagara on November 04, 2015

Daytime Sleepiness in seniors

Most elderly people in Niagara complain of Excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS). In turn, EDS is directly related to a two-fold increase in fall risk. Up to 30% of people suffering from this condition, report at least 1 or more falls every year. In most instances, these falls occur when they are walking outdoors.

In a large number of cases, these falls are caused due to tripping and an unsteady gait. Around 15% of people experience these difficulties, and it results in a two-fold increase in the risk of falls.

Almost 20% of these falls end up causing moderate to severe injuries, and the individuals may suffer either severe head trauma or fractures.

There are some other adverse outcomes of Excessive Daytime Sleepiness as well such as:

  • Difficulty with performing daily activities safely

  • Depression

  • Taking various sleep medications that can result in reduced attention & alertness during the waking hours

  • Altered cognitive abilities

Factors that Contribute to EDS

There are a number of factors that contribute to Excessive Daytime Sleepiness:

  • Poor sleeping habits - When elderly people go to bed and wake up at different times or even if they nap during the daytime, this irregular sleep-wake pattern has a negative impact on the ability of the person to sleep.

  • Medications - Various medications can affect the individual’s ability to stay asleep, or even fall asleep and this results in wakefulness at night.

  • Health conditions - There are a number of health conditions that can lead to significant sleep problems. Some of the common complaints are sleep-related disorders such as restless leg syndrome and sleep apnea. In some cases, seniors in Niagara have physical limitations due to chronic illnesses, stroke or Parkinson’s disease, etc. When these individuals have to get up often at night to use the toilet, it affects their sleep.

  • Lifestyle Factors - Lack of exercise and consumption of alcohol as well as coffee can result in chronic sleep problems.

Things to do

  • Most people just believe that lack of sleep is an unavoidable age-related malady, and they don’t seek medical help for it. It is extremely important that these causes be evaluated by a physician. He will ascertain whether any specific medications are causing excessive sleepiness and may prescribe an alternative drug.

  • The elderly should include some form of mild exercise into their daily routine. This should  include balance & strength training

In addition, it’s important to eliminate tripping hazards, as this helps reduce falls. Right at Home has professional caregivers who can help the elderly in Niagara carry out their daily activities in and outside of their home, with more confidence and less fear of trips and falls.  

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