Dementia is a disease that affects the brain, causing it to lose its ability to function properly. It can be caused by a number of things, including Alzheimer’s and strokes. With dementia, memory loss is one of the most common symptoms, which can also include problems with sleep. Here are some tips on how you can help your loved one with dementia sleep better while in a memory care in Bexar County, TX.
What is Sleep Disturbance?
Sleep disturbance is a common symptom of dementia, and can have a significant impact on people with dementia and their caregivers alike. Sleep disturbance is the inability to get restful sleep, or an interruption in normal sleep patterns due to an individual’s medical condition, or other factors such as stress, medications, or pain. Sleep disturbances occur when a change in brain function affects the regulation of sleep and wake cycles. In many cases, this disruption results from changes in the chemicals responsible for controlling wakefulness and sleeping patterns within regions of your brain.
The Link Between Sleep and Dementia
As you can see, there’s a clear link between sleep and dementia. When you don’t get enough sleep, it can increase your risk of developing dementia. It can also cause symptoms of dementia to worsen. That’s where things get interesting! When we sleep, our brains slow down and become less active, which protects us from having seizures or strokes. Therefore, if they don’t get enough REM (rapid eye movement) sleep during deep non-REM slumber, their memories may be affected even further!
The Role of Memory Care Communities in Helping Reduce Sleep Disturbance in Dementia
- Create structure and routine. Structure and routine are extremely important for people with dementia, as it helps them feel safe and secure. It’s also important to be flexible regarding the daily schedule, since your loved one may have certain preferences or needs that you need to accommodate.
- Offer predictable activities throughout the day. Daily activities and eventsshould include things like breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. They can also include dressing up, exercise, reading, watching TV or listening to music. In addition to these, activities can be going outside for a walk, having lunch in a favorite place on campus, relaxing in a quiet space, or even just sitting down together with some tea or coffee.
- Invite others from the community into your home regularly. This might include family members who live nearby but rarely visit.
- Provide opportunities for sensory stimulation. This can include things like music, art projects, or gardening.
- Provide opportunities for physical activity. Exercise releases endorphins that improve mood and make people feel better about themselves and their lives.
- Socialize with residents as often as possible. Engage them in conversation or activities they enjoy so they can talk with others while also having fun together!
As a dementia patient’s cognition declines, their ability to understand what’s happening around them diminishes. With the loss of understanding comes a sense of fear, anxiety, and agitation that can lead to sleeplessness. Unfortunately, these symptoms aren’t limited to patients with dementia. They’re also common in other types of brain diseases as well in healthy adults. The good news is there are steps caregivers can take to help their loved ones sleep well despite these challenges!