Signs It Might Be Time for Overnight Care
Have stories of a parent’s restless nights, near falls, or a neighbor’s report of recent night wandering interrupted your chance to get a good night’s sleep? Do you have a nagging feeling that all is not well for an aging loved one during the nighttime hours?
Then it may be time to enlist the help of an overnight care provider.
Senior Overnight Care: Safety, Security, & Peace of Mind
The sleepfoundation.org reports that 40% to 70% of adults 65-year old or older suffer from chronic sleep issues and that half of these cases go undiagnosed.
The most common causes of nighttime disturbances and insomnia are:
- The loss or fracturing of the evening winddown and relaxing bedtime routine
- Lack of physical and mental exercise during the daytime hours
- Over napping during the day
- Medication side effects
- Not enough outdoor or natural daylight exposure which anchors the circadian rhythm
- Medically-related physical discomfort
- Sleep apnea
- Biochemical changes related to Alzheimer’s or dementia
- Increased need to urinate during the night
- Restless leg syndrome or general feelings of restlessness and agitation
Paying attention to the above contributors to sleep issues can help correct them. Any indication that an aging loved one has sleep issues should lead to an appointment with a general physician for an official assessment. After that, begin discussing senior overnight care options with your loved one.
These discussions may not be easy at first, but it’s essential to emphasize nighttime sleep disturbances pose a real threat to aging adults. First, insufficient sleep puts seniors at higher risk for falls and other accidents that lead to hospitalization and readmittance cycles.
Additionally, sleep deprivation negatively impacts daytime functioning, so chronic sleep issues result in daily fogginess, fatigue, or exacerbated symptoms of memory loss.
Finally, if memory loss is present, nighttime confusion and a disrupted circadian rhythm can cause nighttime wandering that ultimately is impossible to prevent without overnight companionship.
5 Red Flags Saying It’s Time for Professional Overnight Care
You’ll know it’s time to look into senior overnight care when any of the following become part of the equation:
1. Nighttime wandering
Aging loved ones who can’t sleep are prone to nighttime wandering. For some, the disruption in circadian rhythm means they’re wide awake and decide it’s time to take the dog for a walk. For others, nighttime wandering signifies sleepwalking or memory loss-related confusion.
If your loved one has told you about nighttime walks or you’ve received calls from concerned neighbors who’ve helped a loved one find their way back home at night, you need overnight care ASAP to ensure your senior’s safety. Obviously, this is a very dangerous scenario which significantly threatens your loved one’s safety and should be corrected immediately.
2. They’ve had a recent fall or accident
Poor lighting, diminished vision, or general nighttime fogginess increase the risk of falling or other accidents. In some cases, this results in a fall that renders an adult unconscious or unable to phone for help. Nobody should have to suffer that plight, and licensed overnight caregivers can help keep your senior as safe as possible during the most vulnerable nighttime hours.
These caregivers remain awake during their shifts and are on alert for any sounds or signs of motion. They support clients with safe transfers from the chair to the bed, from the bedroom to the bathroom, and from the toilet back to bed again.
Caregivers also provide incontinence care, soothing companionship that encourages seniors to get back to bed and asleep again, and help with getting up and dressed for the day once the sun rises.
3. Notable signs of memory loss or a dementia diagnosis
If you’ve noticed obvious signs of memory loss or your loved one received a dementia diagnosis, nighttime support is a must. You never know when memory loss will shift into nighttime confusion, wandering, or even driving, all of which pose serious threats to an aging adult’s well-being.
Any evidence or diagnosis of memory loss requires overnight supervision, as well as bringing in daytime support as needed in response to memory loss progression.
4. Cupboards and fridge are bare (and other signs of neglect)
Living alone combined with age-related changes make it increasingly difficult for seniors to prepare healthy meals and snacks for themselves. If your loved one’s cupboards and fridge appear bare, nighttime caregiving may be the ideal option.
For example, while keeping an eye out for the client’s nighttime needs, caregivers can use the nighttime hours to prepare easy-to-heat meals and snacks your loved one can consume the next day. Caregivers can also do errand running and grocery shopping before the shift, eliminating those tasks from the roster.
If you notice a drop-off in general housekeeping or see dirty linens, our overnight caregivers are happy to take care of light housekeeping and linen changing needs. What’s more, before they head off in the morning, caregivers make sure clients are out of bed, have a cup of coffee or tea, and ensure they have a delicious breakfast to start their day.
5. Primary caregiver fatigue and burnout
If you are a primary caregiver noticing your own signs of fatigue or burnout, it’s time to enlist regular and professional support. Your ability to provide patient, compassionate care depends on your ability to care for and nourish yourself.
Nighttime sleep is essential for primary caregivers to make sure they’re well-rested for their daytime responsibilities. If your loved one lives with you, professional overnight care handles any nighttime disruptions so that you can get a well-deserved, full night’s sleep.
Let Us Take the Nighttime Shift
The compassionate senior overnight care team at Affordable Home Care is happy to take the night shift for you. Contact us to schedule an assessment and learn more about our overnight care and daytime services. Our experienced caregivers are highly qualified, experienced, state-approved in-home care providers.
Regardless of who you might choose to provide overnight care, make sure they are licensed, bonded, insured, and have a long list of positive referrals.