Sleep apnea is a condition in which your elderly family member’s breathing is interrupted while she’s sleeping. She may be aware of the problem or she may have no idea at all. If you suspect that your elderly family member is dealing with sleep apnea, make sure that you talk to her doctor. Here are a few symptoms that could point to sleep apnea.
Daytime Sleepiness that Has Become Severe.
There are a lot of different reasons that someone might experience daytime sleepiness, of course. When that daytime sleepiness becomes really severe and your senior has a difficult time even staying awake, that’s a big problem. A good rule of thumb is whether this symptom is interfering with her daily activities.
Loud Snoring When Sleeping.
One sign that your senior might not know about is whether or not she’s experiencing loud snoring when she’s asleep. The snoring happens when her airway is temporarily blocked. If she’s snored for her entire life or knows that her snoring has another cause entirely, then this may not apply for her.
Trouble Paying Attention When Awake.
When your elderly family member isn’t getting the sleep that she needs at night, she’s likely to have trouble thinking the next day and even paying attention to what’s going on around her. It’s not that she’s not interested. It’s that her body and her brain didn’t get the rest that she needed to be able to function properly.
Some symptoms might pop up first thing in the morning. Apnea can cause your senior to leave her mouth open for a good bit of the night, which can cause her to wake up with a sore throat and a dry mouth. She may also wake up more often with a headache. These issues tend to fade fairly quickly once she gets on with the rest of her day.
Trouble Staying Asleep or Waking Suddenly.
Overnight, your senior family member might have trouble getting to sleep, staying asleep, or find that she wakes up suddenly when she was deeply asleep. This can be startling and it’s a side effect of the apnea cutting off your senior’s breathing unexpectedly. Afterward, she may have trouble getting fully back to sleep, especially if she was very badly startled.
If you’re not able to be with your elderly family member during the day to witness some of those symptoms, it can be difficult for you to spot them. Working with elderly care providers gives you a chance to have an objective third party helping you to spot potential problems.
The staff at Home Care Matters is available to talk with you and your family about all of your needs. Home Care Matters is a home care agency providing quality and affordable elderly care in Braselton, GA and the surrounding areas. Call (678) 828-2195 for more information.
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