Fatigue in the Elderly

Feelings of exhaustion can seem like a common occurrence for a number of us. The alarm goes off too early, the demands of day-to-day life are draining, and by the conclusion of the day, as soon as we can finally sink into bed, it may be hard to turn off our thoughts to achieve a restful night’s sleep. Yet once we do obtain a good night’s sleep, we awake feeling recharged and able to take on the world.

For senior loved ones, however, there are numerous factors that may lead to chronic fatigue – a condition that isn’t as easily remedied. As March is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Awareness Month, the experts in home care in Des Moines, IA, At-Home Care Company, have the facts you should know to understand chronic fatigue in older adults, and to help manage it.

Factors that cause chronic fatigue in the elderly

  • A range of health concerns, such as cancer, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, COPD, kidney and liver disease
  • Prescription side effects, such as from antihistamines, antidepressants, and pain or nausea meds
  • Medical treatments, particularly surgery and recovery, chemotherapy, and radiation
  • Sleep apnea or other sleep difficulties
  • Anemia
  • Infections
  • Mental health challenges, such as those experienced in depression and anxiety
  • Grief
  • Thoughts and feelings of despondency or lack of control in life
  • Financial or personal stress
  • Unhealthy eating and exercise habits
  • And others

In many instances, the physician can address the underlying reasons behind chronic fatigue. Therefore, it’s a good idea to schedule a checkup and consultation if an older adult you love is trying to cope with any of the issues above.

The best ways to help

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

  • Keep a log that details when the older adult feels most energized, and most fatigued.
  • Incorporate more physical activity into the older adult’s daily life. (Be sure to get authorization from his / her doctor prior to starting or modifying any exercise programs.)
  • Change sleeping habits to remove naps more than 30 minutes, and especially napping in the late afternoon/early evening, to allow for improved sleep at night time.
  • Quit – or never start – smoking, which is recognized to result in numerous health problems that can drain energy.
  • Encourage your older loved one to speak to an experienced counselor, to tackle and sort out stress, anxiety, depression, or any other emotional difficulties.
  • Allow plenty of time for fun! Laughter is a wonderful, natural, energy and mood booster.
  • Designate set times each day for relaxation – listening to peaceful music, reading, meditation or prayer, or enjoying a favorite soothing hobby, such as knitting or working on puzzles.

At-Home Care Company is always here to offer further strategies to conquer fatigue and to make life more fulfilling for aging parents throughout Des Moines. Contact us at (515) 292-2650 to request a complimentary in-home consultation and for more information about our compassionate care team and in home care assistance in Des Moines and surrounding areas.