4 Senior Sleep Problems Caused by Parkinson’s Disease

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Sleeping Problems with Parkinson's Disease

Since Parkinson’s is primarily thought of as a condition that affects seniors’ motor skills, less visible symptoms are frequently overlooked. If you have an elderly loved one with Parkinson’s disease, he or she may be experiencing some of the invisible Parkinson’s symptoms, including difficulty sleeping. To help ensure you’re able to recognize when Parkinson’s is affecting your loved one’s sleep, Home Care Scottsdale discusses four sleep conditions caused by PD.

1. Insomnia

Characterized by difficulty falling asleep, waking frequently after falling asleep, and being unable to go to sleep even when you are tired, insomnia is a frustrating sleep condition. If your elderly loved one is suffering from insomnia, eliminating caffeine and alcohol from the diet may help. Often, setting a consistent sleep schedule and promoting sleep hygiene can also help promote healthy and deep sleep.

2. Sleep Attacks (Narcolepsy)

Sleep attacks are periods of time when your loved one falls asleep involuntarily. These attacks can occur very suddenly, causing your loved one to fall asleep while standing, eating, or driving. If daytime sleepiness is a problem, talk to your loved one’s physician. In some cases, sleep attacks are caused by the medications used to treat Parkinson’s, so speaking with your loved one’s physician can help your loved one have his or her medications adjusted and reduce or eliminate sleep attacks as soon as possible.

3. Sleep Apnea

A treatable condition that causes seniors to stop breathing for a short time during sleep, sleep apnea is typically diagnosed by participating in a sleep study. Family members or your loved one’s Scottsdale Parkinson’s caregiver may begin to pick up on symptoms of sleep apnea if your loved one snores loudly or experiences daytime drowsiness, even after sleeping through the night. After diagnosis, physicians frequently recommend non-prescription treatments for sleep apnea, including the use of CPAP machine while sleeping.

4. REM Sleep Behavior Disorder

If your elderly loved one grinds his or her teeth, kicks, or has other aggressive movements while sleeping, he or she may have a REM sleep behavior disorder. As seniors with Parkinson’s disease may not relax their muscles while sleeping, their bodies will sometimes move as a reaction to dreams. As with sleep apnea, a sleep study may be necessary to diagnose a REM sleep behavior disorder. If your loved one is diagnosed with this condition, his or her doctor may prescribe a combination of medications or environmental changes, such as installing padding on hard surfaces in the bedroom, to help decrease episodes and reduce chances of injury.

As seniors with Parkinson’s are at an increased risk for sleep conditions, having a caregiver monitor your loved one for daytime drowsiness and other symptoms of sleep problems can help. At Home Care Assistance, our professionally trained caregivers may also provide assistance with other daily tasks for seniors with Parkinson’s, including cooking, cleaning, and mobility assistance. To learn more about our senior care services, including Alzheimer’s, dementia, or stroke care in Scottsdale, give a Care Manager a call at (480) 771-2710 and schedule a complimentary in-home consultation.


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