Does Excessive Sleeping Signal Dementia?

By 8  am on

While it’s perfectly natural for seniors to be occasionally drowsy, excessive sleepiness is something that should never be taken lightly. Overwhelming daytime sleepiness that impacts quality of life can be caused by a variety of serious health issues, including dementia. If your aging loved one seems to be more tired than usual and is having difficulty staying awake throughout the day, you might want to take a closer look at the connection between dementia and excessive sleepiness. 

Natural Changes in Energy Levels

Even though chronic drowsiness can be caused by major health complications, it’s important to realize energy levels fluctuate as seniors grow older. When older adults are no longer as active or engaged with the world around them, their energy levels begin to drop. Many seniors also take quite a few medications, and some of those drugs could be making them drowsy. 

As a general rule, you shouldn’t be nervous about your loved one’s sleepiness unless it’s impacting his or her quality of life. Occasionally dozing off during the day usually isn’t a major issue. 

Dementia & Sleepiness

Sleep problems are one of the most common symptoms of dementia, and they can eventually have a major impact on a senior’s overall health. As dementia develops, it can damage the area of the brain responsible for temporal awareness. This area of the brain helps people wake up when the sun rises, and it’s vital to sleep schedules. 

Sleep deprivation can also occur if a senior is experiencing sundowning or agitation during the night. Over time, those symptoms could result in chronic sleep deprivation and daytime drowsiness. 

Aging in place can present a few challenges for seniors living with dementia. However, they can still live independently at home with the help of professional dementia care. Auburn families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide their elderly loved ones with mental and social stimulation, timely medication reminders, assistance with meal prep, and much more. Our caregivers are available around the clock to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life.

Other Signs to Look For

In addition to severe daytime drowsiness, you should also keep an eye out for other early warning signs of dementia. Memory loss is the symptom most people associate with dementia, and your loved one could become forgetful years before any other issues begin to pop up. For instance, your parent might forget how to carry out everyday tasks or have difficulty remembering names and important dates. Sudden personality changes can occur as well, and some seniors with dementia become aggressive or hostile toward their caregivers. 

Caring for senior loved ones can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.

Getting Diagnosed

Many people are surprised to hear that getting diagnosed with dementia is a somewhat lengthy process, and your loved one will most likely need to meet with multiple specialists. If you’ve recently noticed any of the early warning signs, tell your loved one’s primary doctor. The doctor will then be able to refer you to a neurologist or another specialist who can carry out further testing. The specialist will most likely scan your loved one’s brain and perform a variety of memory tests. 

If your parent is diagnosed with dementia or any other serious medical condition, a professional caregiver can be a fantastic source of support for the whole family. One of the most challenging tasks of helping an elderly relative age in place safely and comfortably is researching agencies that provide home care service. Auburn families can turn to Home Care Assistance for reliable, high-quality in-home care for aging adults. We offer 24-hour live-in care for seniors who require extensive assistance, and we also offer respite care for family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties. To learn about our high-quality in-home care options, give us a call at (334) 744-7100 today.


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