Fatigue is a common complaint among the elderly. Because it is so common, it is often ignored, considered a by-product of the aging process. While it may be due to simple lifestyle choices such as diet, lack of exercise or sleep issues, it may also be due to a serious disease. If your parent reports increasing fatigue and loss of energy, it’s time to make an appointment with their primary health care provider.
Lack of energy may be associated with heart disease, arthritis and chronic pain, anemia, infections, or problems with the kidneys or lungs. Medication, social isolation, an undiagnosed sleep disorder and depression have also been reported as issues that can lead to fatigue. Malnutrition and metabolic disorders such as diabetes also result in loss of energy.
The National Institute of Health defines fatigue as “a feeling of weariness, tiredness, or lack of energy, which is different from drowsiness—a feeling of needing sleep—in that there is marked lack of motivation in one’s daily activities.” It may appear as apathy, mental confusion and difficulty with concentration.
Affecting your Parent’s Life
An overwhelming sense of tiredness and weakness may result in reduced activities and the need for assistance with the daily activities of living. As movement declines and isolation expands, your parent’s body grows weaker and a vicious cycle ensues. Their fatigue grows while their physical strength declines and can ultimately result in a fall. Their isolation grows leading to a loss of connection so vital to a person’s well-being.
How to Help
If no underlying disease has been determined to be the causative factor, a change in lifestyle is warranted. When your parent is in the throes of extreme fatigue, making any changes may be challenging. Like the tortoise and the hare, “Slow and steady wins the race.” Help your parent make little changes. As their energy improves, they’ll be motivated to take the next step to a vital, well-balanced life.
Diet and Exercise
It all comes down to a healthy lifestyle. Lack of vitamin B12 and D often result in fatigue. Ensuring that your loved one eats nutrient-dense foods can ensure that malnutrition is not a precipitating factor. Get them excited about fruits and vegetables which should make up approximately half of their diet. Entice them with delicious fruit salads topped with low-fat yogurt and granola and leafy greens tossed with apples, grapes, blue cheese, walnuts and a tasty balsamic dressing. Make garlic bread with fresh cloves, parmesan cheese and olive oil on a whole grain sprouted bread. Slowly but surely, they will get excited about the flavors, and the energy that results, from eating whole foods in their natural state.
Keeping the blood pumping and oxygen flowing is crucial to vitality. If your parent has been inactive for some time, start slow with just 10 minutes at a time and check with their health care provider. Increase at regular intervals until they are exercising at least 30 minutes a day for 5 days a week.
Elderly Care Provider
An elderly care provider can assist your parent with the daily activities of living as they recover from the effects of fatigue. They can prepare healthy meals and accompany them on their daily walks. They can provide that all-important companionship so vital to your parent’s health and happiness.
If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring professional elderly care in Piedmont, CA, call the caring staff at Aviva In-Home Care. Call today: (415) 795-2203
At Aviva, we also use the latest in health technology to maximize opportunities for communication between all members of our client’s care circles. We utilize nursing oversight to ensure that we are in compliance with physician orders, and that our careplans are being properly administered. Lastly, Aviva is a proud member of The Senior’s Choice, a national network of leading home care agencies that share best practices and focus on continual improvement.
As owner of the business, I also promise to you my direct involvement in your loved ones care, and will always make myself available for feedback and improvements in our service. I look forward to working with you and your loved one on creating a care plan that is perfectly suited to the family's needs. Thank you for considering Aviva as your care partner.