Extreme Fatigue in the Elderly

Feelings of exhaustion can seem to be a regular occurrence for many of us. The alarm goes off too early, the demands of daily life are draining, and by the conclusion of the day, when we can finally sink into bed, it can be hard to stop our thoughts and get a restful night’s sleep. However, after we do obtain a good night’s sleep, we wake up feeling invigorated and able to take on the world.

For the elderly, however, there are various factors that could lead to chronic fatigue – a condition that is not as easily remedied. As March is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Awareness Month, the professionals at Compassionate Nursing Services have the facts you must know to understand chronic fatigue in older adults, and to help manage it.

Causes of Extreme Fatigue in the Elderly

  • A variety of medical ailments, such as cancer, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, COPD, kidney and liver disease
  • Prescription drug side effects, such as from antihistamines, antidepressants, and pain or nausea medications
  • Medical treatments, such as surgery and recovery, chemotherapy, and radiation
  • Sleep apnea or other sleep difficulties
  • Anemia
  • Infections
  • Emotional challenges, like those experienced in depression and anxiety
  • Grief
  • Feelings of despondency or loss of control in life
  • Financial or personal stress
  • Unhealthy eating and exercise habits
  • And others

Quite often, the doctor can address the underlying factors that cause chronic fatigue; therefore, it’s best to schedule a checkup and consultation if an older adult you love is trying to cope with any of the issues above.

Simple Tips to Help

Additionally, the following tips can help with overcoming fatigue:

  • Maintain a diary that documents when the older adult feels most energized, and most tired.
  • Provide more physical activity in the senior’s daily routine. (Be sure to get authorization from her or his physician before beginning or changing any exercise programs.)
  • Modify sleeping habits to eliminate naps longer than 30 minutes, and especially napping during the late afternoon/early evening, to allow for improved sleep at nighttime.
  • Quit – or never start – smoking, which is known to result in a wide variety of health problems that can drain energy.
  • Encourage your older family member to consult with an experienced counselor, to address and sort out stress, anxiety, depression, or other emotional difficulties.
  • Allow plenty of time for fun! Laughter is a fantastic, natural, energy and mood booster.
  • Schedule set times every day for relaxation – listening to soft music, reading, meditation or prayer, or enjoying a favorite soothing hobby, such as knitting or working on puzzles.

Compassionate Nursing Services is always available to offer additional strategies to conquer fatigue and to make life more enjoyable for older adults. Reach out to the top St. Louis nursing care agency at 314-432-4312 to ask about a no cost in-home consultation and for additional information about our compassionate care team and industry leading home care services.