How to Reduce the Risk of Sleep Apnea in the Senior Years

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Sleep apnea is a growing concern among the elderly. The disease disrupts sleep schedules, causes daytime drowsiness, and sometimes leads to serious health issues such as heart attacks and strokes. Take a look at some of the best ways older adults can prevent sleep apnea and boost their health and wellbeing.  

Focus on Weight Loss 

For seniors who are obese, weight loss is one of the most effective ways to enhance sleep quality. Sleep apnea occurs because the airway is blocked during sleep. When people are overweight, they may accrue excess tissue at the back of the throat. During sleep, the tissue can shift position so it blocks the airway and obstructs healthy breathing patterns. One of the best ways to get rid of extra tissue is by losing weight. Seniors should follow an exercise regimen and dietary plan prescribed by their doctor.

Aging adults who need help exercising should consider professional in-home care. Scottsdale home care professionals can be a wonderful boon to seniors. Whether they require around-the-clock supervision or just need assistance with exercise and household tasks a few days a week, seniors can enjoy a higher quality of life with the help of trusted in-home caregivers.

Give Up Smoking 

Smoking can irritate the area surrounding the throat and lead to inflammation, which causes sleep apnea. Seniors who smoke may have had the habit for decades, but this doesn’t mean they can’t give up cigarettes. Older adults who are serious about quitting should talk to their doctors about smoking cessation options like nicotine patches, prescription drugs, and support groups. 

Quitting cigarettes is one of the healthiest lifestyle choices seniors should consider. If your aging loved one needs help managing everyday tasks or encouragement to adopt healthier lifestyle choices, turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of senior care. Scottsdale Home Care Assistance provides professional in-home caregivers around the clock to help seniors live longer, happier, and healthier lives.

Don’t Take Sleeping Pills 

Seniors at risk for sleep apnea should avoid sleeping pills. Many of these medications cause throat muscles to block the airway and prevent healthy breathing. Seniors who have difficulty falling asleep at night should implement healthy sleeping habits rather than relying on sleeping pills. 

Adopt Healthy Sleeping Habits 

Practicing good sleep hygiene can mitigate sleep apnea. Seniors should stick to a consistent sleep schedule, as it trains the body to relax and fall asleep quickly. When older adults get eight hours of rest per night, their sleep apnea episodes may decrease. Seniors should also try to sleep on the side, rather than the back. 

Get a Sleep Test 

Many seniors are unaware they have sleep apnea. If your loved one experiences some of the signs of sleep apnea such as daytime sleepiness, loud snoring, repeated nighttime awakenings, and sore throats, he or she should get a diagnosis. Overnight sleep tests are one of the best ways to detect sleep apnea. 

Consider Various Treatment Options 

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is one of the most common treatments for sleep apnea. CPAP devices are placed over the nose prior to sleep, and they keep the airways open all night long. Oral appliances are another option. These appliances are inserted into the mouth, and they ensure the throat tissues don’t collapse and obstruct the airway.

Caring for older adults with serious health issues is a challenging task that could impact a caregiver’s overall health. Family caregivers need to care for their own wellbeing. If you are caring for an aging loved one and are feeling overwhelmed, consider hiring a professional caregiver to provide respite care. Scottsdale families who want to avoid burnout can turn to Home Care Assistance. One of our professional caregivers can assist your loved one at home while you take a nap, go to work, run errands, or go on vacation. To hire a professionally trained caregiver for your elderly parent, give us a call at 480.448.6215 today.