Do Seniors Who Are Excessively Sleepy Have Dementia?

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Do Aging Adults Who Are Excessively Sleepy Have Dementia in Columbus, OH

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 5 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia. There are many symptoms associated with dementia-related conditions, one of which is excessive fatigue. If you provide care for an older loved one, you may wonder if noticing an uptick in excessive sleepiness indicates dementia. Here’s what you need to know.

Daytime Sleepiness Is More Common with Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB)

Excessive daytime sleepiness in seniors can have many different causes, from medication issues to undiagnosed depression and anxiety. However, it may become a concern if your loved one normally gets a good night’s sleep and still ends up being excessively fatigued during the day. This is more likely to be an indication of what’s termed dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) than Alzheimer’s disease.

Mayo Clinic researchers made this determination by doing a comparison study between people with Alzheimer’s and DLB. In general, sleeping more often is associated with dementia because changes in the brain caused by conditions of this nature affect the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle (circadian rhythm) and temporal awareness.

If your senior loved one needs professional dementia care, Columbus caregivers are available around the clock to provide the high-quality care he or she needs. Using the revolutionary Cognitive Therapeutics Method, dementia caregivers can help your loved one stay mentally engaged and delay the progression of the disease.

Sleep Is a (Possible) Risk Factor

According to a study published in the journal Sleep, excessive daytime sleepiness that includes periodic napping may be a risk factor for dementia. The reason for this determination is because of a link between daytime fatigue and an accumulation of beta-amyloid plaques in the brain. These plaques are associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers based their findings, in part, on results from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging, which was a large-scale study of thousands of older individuals. In addition to being asked about their sleep habits and instances of daytime sleepiness and napping, the participants also received brain scans to look for the type of plaque buildup associated with dementia. However, it’s not clear if poor sleep habits contribute to the buildup of beta-amyloid plaques or if these plaques actually cause excessive sleepiness.

Maintaining good sleep hygiene does more than just reduce the risk of dementia. It can also help aging adults maintain their overall health. Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional home care, Columbus, OH, Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life.

What to Do If Your Loved One Is Excessively Sleepy

As mentioned above, simply being excessively sleepy doesn’t mean your loved one has dementia. For this reason, it’s important to have your loved one evaluated by his or her doctor. This process usually involves:

• Checking for signs of obstructive sleep apnea
• Reviewing medications to see if one or more prescriptions being taken for other conditions may be affecting sleep habits
• Performing tests to look for undiagnosed conditions that may be contributing to fatigue

An assessment of mood, memory, and other related cognitive functions may be done as well to look for possible signs of dementia. If no other possible indications of dementia are found, your loved one may be advised to take steps to minimize daytime sleepiness. Common recommendations include:

• Planning activities throughout the day since boredom is sometimes a reason for excessive sleepiness
• Ensuring your loved one’s sleeping area is quiet and comfortable
• Encouraging relaxing activities shortly before bedtime, such as reading or deep breathing exercises
• Reminding your loved one to be consistent with his or her sleep schedule to avoid circadian rhythm disruptions

If your loved one needs help at home while managing the challenges of dementia or another serious issue, consider hiring a professional caregiver. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of at-home care. You can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia. To schedule a free consultation, call (614) 481-8888 today.


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