Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that can be difficult to manage, especially for seniors living alone. This condition occurs when disruptions happen in breathing while sleeping, resulting in disrupted sleep patterns and a lack of restorative sleep. However, with some lifestyle changes and medical treatment options, seniors may find themselves in a better position to manage their symptoms, get more restful sleep, and see better overall health.
Understanding Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder among seniors and can affect almost anyone. The most common symptom of sleep apnea is snoring. Other symptoms include gasping for air while sleeping, daytime fatigue or tiredness, irritability, morning headaches, and dry throat or mouth upon waking. Other less noticeable signs may include increased blood pressure, depression, and weight gain. Seniors who note changes in their sleep patterns or energy levels should consult a doctor to make sure that they do not have a serious condition like sleep apnea.
Medical Treatment Options for Sleep Apnea
When it comes to medical treatment options for sleep apnea, there are a few that are commonly used. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines can be used to help keep the airways open while sleeping and reduce symptoms of sleep apnea. Oral appliances, such as mandibular advancement devices or tongue-retaining devices, can also be useful in reducing snoring and other symptoms of sleep apnea. Surgery may also be an option depending on the severity of the condition but is often combined with lifestyle changes and other treatments.
Creating Healthier Sleep Habits
To create healthier sleep habits, seniors living alone should focus on the following:
- Establish an evening routine to help prepare for bedtime
- Exercise regularly, but not too close to bedtime
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol throughout the day
- Make sure their bedroom is comfortable and calming
Monitoring Sleep Apnea
As seniors age, their sleep schedules may start to shift. Some seniors may find themselves sleeping less than they did when younger. Others may spend more time asleep. It's important, however, to monitor any changes in sleeping patterns. If they note any problems, it can be helpful to talk to a doctor who specializes in sleep apnea and can provide guidance on the right options for their needs.
In addition, seniors can gather information from friends and family who might be able to offer insights or advice about their sleeping patterns. They can talk to a family member who shared a hotel room with them during vacation, for example. Finally, seniors should ask for help when they need it, including connecting with senior-care organizations that may provide overnight care.
Get Help for Seniors with Sleep Apnea
Seniors with sleep apnea may feel uncomfortable being by themselves all night, or they may struggle with the challenges that go along with a poor night's sleep while adjusting to new medications or equipment. For seniors living in Fontana, Pomona, Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga, Montclair, and San Bernardino County, Senior Helpers Montclair can provide overnight care and other assistance. Contact us today to learn more about our services.