You can’t always be there. But we can.
It’s easy to believe that just crawling into bed should be enough to help your elder loved one get some much-needed shuteye. But it can be more complicated than that.
Check the Noise Levels
Even if your elder loved one is normally hard of hearing, some sounds can make a big difference when she’s trying to get to sleep. Try listening in her room at several different points in the day and the evening to determine what types of noises there are and how they might affect your loved one during overnight sleep or even a nap. Little changes, such as using a ceiling fan, can sometimes help. You may also want to consider solutions such as white noise machines or even ear plugs if the noise is severe.
Temperature Matters, Too
Temperature can sometimes be even more important for people who are trying to sleep than noise can. There’s a certain “Goldilocks” point at which your loved one is likely to find the temperature just right, but too hot or too cold can disrupt everything. Ideally, the room should be a little cooler for sleeping, but your loved one may have a different preference.
Mattress Comfort Is Important
Mattresses tend to be one of those household items that most people expect should last a good, long time. Consumer Reports suggests that you should replace a mattress every five to seven years. A good rule of thumb is that if your loved one feels her aches and pains strongly after she gets up for the day, she’s probably not getting the support she needs from her mattress.
Don’t Forget Cozy Bedding and Pillows
Pillows can be decorative, but they’re supportive, too. So it’s important to make sure that the pillows your loved one is using work well for her and support her head. Likewise, the rest of her bedding should be comfortable and allows her to move well throughout the night. Look for natural materials, such as cotton, that breathe and allow your loved one to regulate her temperature more readily at night.
If you need help sorting out environmental issues with your elder loved one’s sleeping space, consider working with elder care providers. They’ve got experience working with caregivers and loved ones to solve these types of issues.