Is Your Senior Loved One Having Sleep Problems? We Might Know Why

As we age, our sleep patterns also begin changing. Most of the times, it’s normal: we either begin sleeping less than we used to or more than usual. In special cases, though, changes in the sleep patterns of a senior loved one can herald some health-related issue or the other. For instance, in seniors, it’s normal to sleep in the evenings. Their sleep is also not as deep as that of a younger person.

However, certain health problems can trigger changes in sleep patterns, which you should pay attention to immediately. Quality sleep is a contributor to mental, physical, and emotional wellness. Thus, when your senior loved one tells you that they’ve been having sleep problems, you need to look at the issue more seriously.

Health Complications

More often than not, it’s an underlying health complication that contributes to the sleep issue. These are secondary sleep disorders; in which case the primary disorder is the one that’s causing the sleep disruptions. Some health conditions that may affect sleep in seniors are:

  • Cardiac problems, such as heart failure
  • Disorders of the respiratory tract, like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Heartburn and acid reflux
  • Musculoskeletal problems, such as arthritis
  • Issues of the urinary tract, such as an overactive bladder
  • Stress, anxiety, and depression
  • Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other neurodegenerative issues
  • Side-effects of certain medication

In the case of a sleep disorder being a secondary disorder, you’re better off focusing on the primary health complication in order to deal with the secondary sleep disorder.

Breathing Disorders

If you live with an elderly loved one, you’re probably no stranger to breathing disorders that are sometimes coupled with sleep problems. All of these disorders fall under the category of SRBD—or Sleep Disordered Breathing. The commonest of these, perhaps, is snoring. Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a close second, caused by breathing passage obstructions. Central Sleep Apnea, on the other hand, is related to changes in the brain.

It’s important to take these issues seriously since SRBDs can lead to strokes, heart failure, and other more serious health complications. According to studies, 53% of adults aged over 68 suffer from SRBD. People aged between 40 and 70 are among the most vulnerable to SRBDs, according to another study.


No list of sleep disorders is ever complete without mentioning insomnia—a.k.a. the godfather of all sleep troubles. Commonly affecting people in their middle and old ages, insomnia is also known to affect younger individuals, such as teenagers. However, the disorder is more common among adults has been proven by studies.

Simply put, insomnia is the inability to sleep despite being in bed or feeling “drowsy.” The eyes stay on high-alert all night, refusing to shut, and the affected individual is usually tired all the time. Long-term health problems usually contribute to insomnia, such as fatigue, stress, and poor quality of living.

You can take care of this problem by improving the quality of life for your senior loved one. A quality senior care community such as AvantGarde Senior Living and Memory Care can be the answer to all your problems. If you’re based in Van Nuys, CA, get in touch with us right away.