Guest Post: 10 Tips to Cope with Deprived Sleep for Seniors 

Seniors Wake UpSleep is an essential part of our day. This doesn’t change as we age, despite it sometimes getting more elusive. Rejuvenating sleep really comes down to total sleep time and total deep-sleep stages – both of which can be difficult to obtain for many seniors. For those who have medical disorders, the chances of sleep deprivation increase dramatically. The National Sleep Foundation reported that 24 percent of seniors age 65-84 have at least four medical conditions they are currently being treated for. Of that group of seniors, a whopping 80 percent have reported sleep problems. The unfortunate effect of sleep deprivation with a chronic illness is one can lead to and even exacerbate the other.

Sleep deprivation is also common among seniors who aren’t suffering from other medical ailments. Instead, they can be having a hard time dealing with the effects of aging. Chronic anxiety is not uncommon for the elderly, and I’m sure we’ve all had a few sleepless nights lying awake because of it.

When we are sleep deprived, it has some profound effects both mentally and physically. Mentally, it can cause confusion, distortion of memory, depression, and decreased mental capacity. It also messes with a person’s ability to handle stress in appropriate ways, which can lead to mental disorders as we age. Studies report that people with sleep deprivation or insomnia are 3 times more likely to have a mental disorder. In the elderly, this can impact the severity of dementia and paranoia.

Physically, lack of sleep can also take its toll on a person. Things such as diminished muscle strength and endurance, increased wear and tear on vital organs, heightened sensitivity to pain, disruption of insulin production and sugar metabolism, and even a weakened immune system.

So what can be done for seniors dealing with the effects of sleep deprivation? Most importantly, if you or an aging loved one is suffering from sleep deprivation, contact your doctor or sleep diagnosis professional to get a proper diagnostic done. They will tailor your tips and medical advice directly to your individual needs. In the meantime, we have some sleep tips to help put you on the path to a healthy night’s sleep.

1. Have a regular sleep/wake schedule. Just like when we were young children, getting our body accustomed to when to be awake and when to go asleep can be essential. Find a routine you enjoy and stick with it – even on the weekends.
2. Keep your bedroom sacred. You know the old adage, bedrooms should only be used for the two S’s (sleep and sex). Many people muddy up their function by adding TVs, laptops, cellphones, and other items into the mix. Not only does electronic stimulation take a while to discharge from the brain, but this type of atmosphere makes it hard to sleep. Get rid of anything that is not tailored to the two S’s and start making your bedroom a sanctuary for sleeping.
3. Turn down the thermostat. Many people, especially as we age, have a harder time staying warm. This in turn, means the thermostat goes up. However, when it comes to sleep, keeping cool is ideal and offers the best benefits to healthy, comfortable sleep. Try turning your thermostat down a few degrees at night. If you can stand it, a temperature set between 60-68 degrees is ideal.
4. Eat healthy. Choosing your foods wisely throughout the day is a good way to promote healthy sleep habits, too. Limit your sugar and salt intake, and eat foods high in protein, fiber, and vitamins.
5. No bedtime meals. Make sure you finish any large meals a minimum of 2-3 hours before you go to sleep. Not only will it reduce your chances of uncomfortable things like heartburn, but it will also help ease you into a restful night sleep.
6. Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol close to bedtime. None of these items are beneficial to rest and in fact, can have the opposite effect. Limit your consumption and avoid them altogether if you can.
7. Soak your way to rest. Remember the routine for babies and kids to ready them for bed? Well, it works for everyone! Taking a relaxing, hot bath or shower is a good way to sooth your soul and prepare you for sleep.

Guest Post: Seniors & Super Foods

seniors and aging nutrition infographicThere are many super foods that can help you deal with stress and aging. Stress can crop up in the senior or elder years that you envision to be the most peaceful. Having the right foods in your diet can alleviate tension and stress, along with their negative effects.

Here are some nutrients you need in your stress-fighting plan:



Fatty fish like salmon is a great source of omega-3s, which keep stress hormones like cortisol under control. You should try to have two servings of wild salmon every week.

Flaxseed and Chia Seeds

These seeds give you a great plant source of omega-3 called Alpha-Linolenic (ALA) acid. However, the body can’t completely convert ALA into other omega-3s that are found in animal sources, so if you’re vegan it’s a good idea to ask your doctor about supplements.


This mineral helps to keep depression away, which is good because depression can be linked to other health problems.

Kale and Spinach

Dark leafy green vegetables are a great source of magnesium. Magnesium not only keeps depression away, but can reduce stress because it controls cortisol levels in the body.


A delicious source of magnesium is cocoa. It also contains antioxidants to lower your blood pressure numbers.


Fiber isn’t just good for keeping you regular – it has benefits for your mood and mind.

Beans are a great source of fiber, but which is the best for your fiber needs? Navy beans contain approximately 19 grams a cup, while small white beans follow suit with approximately 18 grams. Other beans, such as kidney, pinto, black and lentils also contain good amounts of fiber.


Lacking B-vitamins can be harmful to nerves and brain cells, causing feelings of stress and anxiety.

Steel-Cut Oats

Oats are rich in Vitamin B6, which is known as a vitamin that fights stress, so it’s worth starting your day with it.


Avocados contain high amounts of B-vitamins you need to keep you feeling calmer.

Sweet Potatoes

Roasted sweet potatoes are comforting food, but they’re also loaded with nutrients, including B-vitamins.

Greek Yogurt

Since it contains pantothenic acid, or Vitamin B5, another B-nutrient that fights stress, Greek yogurt is a healthy snack to have handy when you’re feeling overwhelmed.


Biotin is a B-vitamin found in eggs and other foods. Deficiencies of it can lead to anxiety.


You need this essential nutrient because it helps your body in many ways, such as by boosting your immune system, synthesising protein and maintaining neurological function.


It’s not just walnuts but all nuts that can give you zinc. Pop them in your daily yogurt or smoothie to reap their benefits.

Pumpkin Seeds

In season this time of year, these seeds are high in zinc while also keeping your blood sugar levels constant. This is important to ward off anxiety, shakiness and weakness that can occur if your sugar levels drop.

Vitamin C

An interesting study found that when people who had to undergo the stress of public speaking took Vitamin C in tablet form, their stress effects were lower than those who didn’t take the vitamin beforehand. Top up your Vitamin C intake with foods such as:

Acai Berries

These berries are a great source of Vitamin C, as well as other nutrients. They also have fatty acids that enable better absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.


Just 100 grams of pomegranate will give you almost 20 percent of your daily requirement. An added benefit of Vitamin C-enriched foods is that they help your body fight off infections that can suppress your immune system.


These berries are a rich source of Vitamin C, so they can neutralize toxic free radicals that cause damage to the body.


This amino acid is found in tea. It can help you gain greater mental awareness while boosting feelings of calm.

Reach for a hot cup of tea when you feel stressed as studies show that it can help to relax the mind without causing drowsiness.

Oils to Ward Off Oxidative Stress

Although not regarded as the normal type of stress, oxidative stress is caused by an imbalance between free radicals and the body not being able to fight them off with antioxidants, and this lack of harmony can lead to illnesses, possibly even hypertension.
Both coconut oil and olive oil have been found to reduce oxidative stress in various organs of the body, so they’re worth adding to your meals.

If managing a diet yourself seems overwhelming, consider the aid of a senior care professional So, the next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, reach for the above calming superfoods and send stress packing.

Screen Shot 2014-10-28 at 7.26.28 AMAbout the Author:

Originally born in Flagstaff, Arizona, Felicity Dryer was raised by her parents (more or less modern-day hippies) to always make her health a top priority. Throughout her life, she has focused on encouraging others to reach for and achieve their personal goals. Now she lives in sunny Los Angeles where she is pursuing her career as a freelance health writer, and continuing to help those seeking encouragement to keep moving forward to achieve their goals. In her free time, she enjoys hosting game nights with her friends, spending her warm days on the shores of California and enjoys watching Saturday morning cartoons.

Lack of Physical Activity is Number One Reason For Falls & Injuries

Fall prevention tips for SeniorFalls are the number one reason that seniors end up in the hospital. Failure to exercise regularly results in poor muscle tone, decreased strength, and loss of bone mass and flexibility. All contribute to falls and the severity of injury due to falls.

Prevention Tips

  • Engage regularly (e.g., every other day for about 15 minutes daily) in exercise designed to increase muscle and bone strength, and to improve balance and flexibility. Many people enjoy walking and swimming.
  • Undertake daily activities in a safe manner, such as reaching and bending properly, taking time to recover balance when rising from a chair or bed, learning the proper way to fall, and learning how to recover after a fall.
  • Wear proper fitting, supportive shoes with low heels or rubber soles.

A few easy changes to your loved one’s daily life can make a big difference.

When Is International Day of Older Persons? October 1, 2014

life-over-60-infographicOctober 1st is a UN backed holiday for the ‘International Day of Older Persons’,  I thought it was a good idea to share some content specifically celebrating the life of the older person.

Please see this info-graphic that covers the topic of life after 60. A person’s life can take on new meaning at this stage in life because people have more free time.

A big thanks to Helen over at for the great and positive aging information.

Guest Post: Information About Age Related Hearing Loss

According to The Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), estimates put the US population of hard of hearing people at close to 48 million. Within this group, the biggest are comprise are those over 65, where the likely cause of hearing loss is directly linked to changes due to aging in the body. For this reason, it is described as ‘age related hearing loss’. In this article we will describe how age related hearing loss occurs, its typical symptoms and ways to manage it.

The Hearing

inner-earThe cochlea, one of the main structures of the human inner ear, contains small structures called hair cells. (They have nothing to do with hair, but are so called as they have hair like structures protruding from their tops when viewed under a microscope). Hair cells are found in great numbers within the cochlea; and they are help to transfer information contained within incoming sound to the brain for interpretation. As the body ages, as early as ones forties, the structure and functioning of hair cells can deteriorate. As more and more hair cells are affected, the effects on hearing are more and more noticeable. Hair cells can also be damaged due to prolonged exposure to harmful noise levels; which is a type of hearing loss called ‘noise induced hearing loss’. The body is unable to regrow or repair the hair cells, meaning in that any resultant hearing loss is permanent in there is currently no medical cure.

The Symptoms

Because the rate of hair cell deterioration varies across individuals, not everyone experiences all the common symptoms. Generally speaking, individuals first start to notice that they find it difficult to understand people when they’re in a noisy place. Other symptoms include:

  • Frequently asking people to repeat themselves
  • Feeling that people often mumble
  • Certain sounds seeming overly loud
  • Problems telling apart certain sounds such as “s” or “th”
  • More difficulty understanding people with higher-pitched voices
  • Ringing in the ears

The Risk

It is important to treat hearing loss, beyond the obvious effects it has on quality of life. In recent years several studies have linked the risk of unmanaged hearing loss to the progression of dementia. The studies all discuss the negative impact that social isolation has on an individual’s cognitive ability. This social isolation is very commonly experienced by older people with hearing loss. Additionally, they point out the additional stress that the brain is under when hearing loss is left unmanaged.

Management Options

hearing-test-resultAny management plan for hearing loss should begin by having a hearing test. These are available and in many cases for free, on the high street at any reputable hearing center. An individual’s hearing levels are measured and compared against normal hearing. If hearing loss is present, the audiologist will further investigate the cause(s). Management of hearing loss aims to reduce the impact on day-to-day activity. It will include the following:

Self-Help – Tell people you have hearing loss so they are more aware of why you may ask for repetition. You may also find it useful to sit closer to the speaker or sound source.

Hearing Aids – These devices provide additional amplification to the ear. They aim to compensate for the lost functioning of the hair cells and make the most of residual hearing ability. These days, hearing aids use mostly digital sound processing and are fitted either behind the ear or inside the ear canal. You may also come across amplified phones, mobiles, alarms, and many more useful devices that aim to amplify one specific sound source.

If you or someone you care for experience signs of hearing loss, you should discuss it with your doctor or book a hearing test.

Article by Joan McKechnie, BSc Hons Audiology & Speech Pathology. Joan works for Hampshire based Joan is HCPC Registered (Health Care Professions Council in the UK).