Although there’s no cure for sleep apnea, there are steps that can boost your senior loved one’s quality of life and make him or her feel less tired after a night’s rest. Treatment can help seniors sleep better, snore less, and breathe more easily. Below are tips aging adults with sleep apnea can use to ease symptoms and prevent other complications.
1. Exercise Regularly
Physical movement can help seniors maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight, particularly in the upper body, can increase the risk of narrow nasal passages and airway obstruction. These issues make it difficult for older adults to breathe regularly. In some cases, these problems cause seniors to stop breathing for long periods while they’re sleeping. One of the best exercises for a senior with sleep apnea is yoga. The movements can boost energy levels and strengthen the heart, easing symptoms associated with the disorder. Yoga breathing exercises can also boost oxygen levels and reduce sleep interruptions.
Some seniors need help following a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Aging adults who require assistance with the tasks of daily living can benefit from reliable home care. Families trust Home Care Assistance to provide the high-quality care their elderly loved ones need and deserve. Our caregivers are trained to help seniors prevent serious illnesses and encourage them to make healthier decisions as they age.
2. Change Sleeping Positions
Sleeping on his or her back could cause airway blockages for your loved one. This is because the soft tissues in the throat are being pulled downward, causing them to collapse while your parent is asleep. Your loved one should avoid sleeping on his or her back to prevent breathing issues and other problems. One of the best sleeping positions for a senior with sleep apnea is on the stomach because it pulls the tissues in the mouth forward and lowers the odds of airway obstruction.
3. Eat Healthy
Some foods, such as bananas, make it difficult for seniors to breathe while resting, which is why those with sleeping disorders should avoid this fruit. Red meats, high-fat dairy products, and refined carbohydrates can also increase sleep apnea symptoms. However, fruits rich in fiber and nutrients can help your loved one avoid excessive weight gain and make it easier to breathe while he or she is asleep. Other nutritious items seniors with sleep apnea should eat are plant-based meats and oils, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products.
If your loved one needs help planning and preparing nutritious meals, consider hiring a professional caregiver. Portland respite care professionals can assist seniors with a wide array of daily tasks, offering family caregivers the chance to focus on other personal responsibilities or take a break to prevent burnout. Whether it’s for a few hours a day or a few days a week, respite care is the perfect solution for family caregivers who are feeling overwhelmed.
4. Use a Humidifier
Adding moisture to the air is an excellent way for seniors to enhance their sleep quality, reduce congestion, and open their airways. Putting a humidifier in your loved one’s bedroom can also lead to clearer breathing. Add essential oils like eucalyptus and lavender to the device. These oils have anti-inflammatory properties that can provide soothing benefits to seniors with sleep apnea.
5. Stop Smoking or Drinking Alcohol
Healthy lifestyle choices can lead to better sleeping habits for older adults with sleep apnea. Seniors with the disorder who continue drinking can experience more relaxed throat muscles due to the chemicals in alcoholic beverages, making them more likely to snore. Throat muscles control breathing, and when these muscles are relaxed, they cause sleep interruptions. Drinking alcohol and smoking are habits that lead to inflammation and swelling in the airways. By quitting smoking and drinking, your loved one can reduce the odds of blocked airflow.
If your elderly loved one is living with a serious medical condition and needs help managing the tasks of daily living, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a Portland home care service agency you can trust. Our caregivers are available 24/7, there are no hidden fees in our contracts, and we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all of our in-home care services. For more information about our flexible, customizable home care plans, call one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (207) 835-4849.