Seniors battling fatigue may assume it’s a natural consequence of aging. In fact, if seniors regularly experience fatigue, even after a good night’s sleep or a restorative nap, it may be cause for concern. Ahead, learn more about the signs of fatigue in seniors, the possible causes of fatigue, and what seniors and their caregivers can do to boost energy levels.
What Is Fatigue?
Fatigue is characterized by a sustained lack of energy, which can affect the ability to exercise, concentrate, remember new information, and perform everyday activities. While it can result from sleep problems, seniors who get the recommended amount of sleep can also find themselves experiencing fatigue. Waking up after eight hours of sleep feeling exhausted is a classic sign of fatigue. Other warning signs include lack of motivation, sporadic bouts of exhaustion, and breathlessness.
Seniors who get fatigued easily can benefit from assistance with the activities of daily living. If your elderly loved one needs help maintaining a high quality of life while aging in place, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of in-home care. Our caregivers provide transportation to and from medical appointments and social events, nutritious meal preparation, assistance with daily exercise, and help with everyday tasks like bathing, grooming, and light housekeeping.
What Medical Conditions Can Cause Fatigue?
A number of medical conditions have been linked to feelings of fatigue in seniors. For example, heart disease reduces the heart’s ability to pump blood efficiently to the lungs, which can sap a senior’s strength and stamina. Loss of energy is also associated with anemia, which is an inadequate supply of red blood cells. Because anemia negatively impacts the body’s ability to transport oxygen via the bloodstream, it can lead to feelings of lethargy. Hypothyroidism is another medical condition linked to fatigue. This condition, which is caused by underactive thyroid glands, can also lead to dry skin, weight gain, and gastrointestinal problems. If you suspect your loved one may have one of these conditions, schedule an appointment with his or her doctor.
If your senior loved one needs help managing an illness or assistance with daily tasks, make sure you choose a top-rated provider of homecare. Portland Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life in the golden years. From the mentally stimulating activities in our Cognitive Therapeutics Method to our friendly Care Managers who are available to answer your questions 24 hours a day, we offer a wide array of high-quality at-home care services.
Can Medications Cause Fatigue?
Many medications can cause seniors to experience decreased energy or feelings of fatigue. Antihistamines, antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, and blood pressure drugs are known to cause exhaustion. If your loved one has recently started a new prescription or adjusted a dosage, it might be the source of the problem. Talk to your loved one’s doctor about the unwanted side effects. The doctor may be able to prescribe a different medication or alter the dosage schedule to minimize the side effects.
When Is Fatigue Related to Sleep?
While fatigue isn’t necessarily related to sleep quality, it can be caused by sleep problems common to seniors, such as sleep apnea and overactive bladders. The shallow breathing and nighttime bathroom trips that result from these conditions can lead to poor sleep and feelings of fatigue in the morning. If your loved one is having interrupted sleep cycles, talk to his or her doctor about ways to mitigate the problem.
How Can Seniors Boost Their Energy Levels?
If there’s no medical reason a senior is feeling fatigued, healthy lifestyle choices can increase daily energy levels. For seniors who are sluggish in the morning, a bit of caffeine with breakfast can increase attentiveness. If seniors notice they feel fatigued in the evenings, a mid-afternoon power nap can provide a welcome jolt of energy. Gentle exercise throughout the day also gets the blood pumping. Seniors can go for walks outside or in their homes when they’re feeling tired.
Every senior has different needs when aging in place. Some simply need occasional assistance with household chores, while others may be managing a serious illness and require more extensive 24-hour care. Portland seniors can count on Home Care Assistance to provide the in-home care they need and deserve. If your loved one needs assistance with the challenges of aging, reach out to one of our knowledgeable, compassionate Care Managers today at (207) 835-4849.