Chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease, thyroid disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) Untreated pain and diseases like fibromyalgia. Anemia. Sleep apnea and other sleep disorders.
What Causes Excessive Sleep in the Elderly? Sleep deprivation is the most common cause of daytime sleepiness. This can be caused by something as simple as a too-warm room, too much coffee during the day or achy joints at night. Sometimes daytime fatigue stems from boredom.
Many seniors also experience fatigue as a side effect of certain medications or medical treatments. Or, certain lifestyle choices could be causing your aging loved one to experience fatigue. Interestingly, both a lack of physical activity and too much physical activity can lead to fatigue.
Although fatigue is common among older people, it is frequently underreported and often not even evaluated because, much like pain, it is often identified by both the older individual and his or her family or caregiver(s) as a natural part of the aging process.
Endurance can decline as you age — and you can tire more quickly — but fatigue is not a natural part of aging.
Being tired all the time can also be a sign of vitamin deficiency. This could include low levels of vitamin D, vitamin B-12, iron, magnesium, or potassium. A routine blood test can help identify a deficiency.
In most cases, there’s a reason for the fatigue. It might be allergic rhinitis, anemia, depression, fibromyalgia, chronic kidney disease, liver disease, lung disease (COPD), a bacterial or viral infection, or some other health condition. If that’s the case, then the long-term outlook is good.
Dehydration is common among seniors since you feel less thirsty as you age. Drinking enough fluids is important to help fight fatigue and get a good night’s sleep. Liquids that are energy boosters for seniors are water, green tea, and the water found in fruits and veggies.
We all go through periods of low energy. Even a week of feeling more tired than usual is not uncommon. Yet most people can tell when their fatigue feels like something more serious. If that’s the case, or your fatigue gets worse or lasts longer than a week or two, it’s time to see your doctor.
Some quick options include:
How Seniors Can Boost Energy Levels
There are three types of fatigue: transient, cumulative, and circadian:
Age spots and wrinkles are no surprise, but you may also find that you bruise more and sweat less. Your skin may be drier and more paperlike. It might be itchy and more easily irritated, too. It can help to switch to gentler soap and use moisturizer and sunscreen regularly.
Most healthy older adults age 65 or older need 7-8 hours of sleep each night to feel rested and alert.
If the fatigue is associated with chest pain, shortness of breath, irregular heart rate, or sense of imminent passing out, these are urgent conditions that warrant immediate medical attention. These could be symptoms of a serious heart condition or major vascular insufficiency.
Unrelenting exhaustion may be a sign of a condition or an effect of the drugs or therapies used to treat it, such as: