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geriatric sleeping(Today’s Guest Posting is from Senior Planning Services, a Medicaid eligibility assistance company)

Sleep is an essential part of life no matter the age. As people age, acquiring a healthy amount of sleep oftentimes becomes challenging. A variety of psychological and physiological aspects can impact sleep. Uncovering reasons behind sleep issues, plays a part in improving the sleep pattern changes people face in later years.

The recommended quantity of sleep needed for people varies throughout life. By older age, a healthy night’s sleep consists of seven to nine hours. Unfortunately, many older adults experience a range of sleep issues that interfere with the ability to fall or stay soundly asleep.

The aging body undergoes many inevitable changes. Some of these changes may contribute to changing sleep patterns in older adults. The body may produce less melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleep, or symptoms of a disorder can interfere with quality of sleep. Possible physical causes of sleep problems can include:

• Physical pain from chronic conditions
• Congestive heart failure
• Frequent need to urinate
• Neurological conditions
• Certain medications or supplements

As people age, they often face a number of emotional stresses. Adjusting to life with a chronic illness or disability causes many fears, frustrations and worries. The loss of a spouse can lead to feelings of depression and loneliness. Financial concerns over rising medical expenses or retirement funds also lead to higher stress levels. Emotional stress and financial concerns interfere with quality sleep.

Sleep affects the ability to concentrate and focus, impacting attention span, memory and mood. The risk of accidental falls increases with inadequate sleep, which can result in injuries. Poor quality of sleep also impacts the immune system, making it difficult to fight infections or recover from illness.
If left untreated, depression and anxiety can worsen, causing additional problems. A general loss of interest in favorite activities or social withdrawal may occur, making feelings of loneliness worse. These feelings can exacerbate trouble sleeping.

Poor sleep is not an inevitable part of aging. Many people that experience few health problems and emotional stresses generally sleep well. To address sleep issues, a primary care physician can diagnose any physiological causes and suggest a course of action. For example, pain relief or a decrease in the need to urinate may contribute to better sleep. Stress management and treatment for issues such as depression and anxiety can improve sleep. Doctors may prescribe medications to ease symptoms of mental illness or teach relaxation techniques to encourage restful sleep. Participation in social activities can positively impact mental health and reduce emotional stress. A financial plan for retirement, medical expenses or long-term care by a qualified Medicaid planning and consulting company can provide a realistic outlook on future costs, which can be broken down into manageable steps. An exercise regimen approved by a physician promotes better sleep in general as well as a boost in overall mood and mental health. Other lifestyle changes that may help improve sleep include:

• A quiet bedtime routine
• Avoiding stimulants and alcohol
• Smaller meals before bedtime
• Reserving the bed for sleep and sex only
• A regular sleep/wake schedule

Sleep impacts quality of life. Just because a person has reached a certain age does not change the importance of getting good sleep. Determining the cause of sleep issues will help identify ways to alleviate the problems and improve sleep. Overall physical and mental well-being can depend on the quality of sleep a person gets, affecting mood, alertness and health. Ultimately, sleep problems should not be taken lying down: just good sleep should.

Senior Planning Services is the ultimate solution for optimized Medicaid eligibility. Thousands of Medicaid applicants and their families have relied on the expertise of Senior Planning Services. Please follow this link.

Charlotte Bishop is a Geriatric Care Manager and founder of Creative Care Management, certified professionals who are geriatric advocates, resources, counselors and friends to older adults and their families in metropolitan Chicago. Please email your questions to info@creativecaremanagement.com.

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