You’ve been taking care of your aging in place elderly mother for about a year now, and everything was going fine until recently. But now mom’s energy level has decreased noticeably, and she’s stopped participating in many of her favorite activities. Your mom’s not keeping up her appearance like before, quit going to the gym and won’t even join her friends for bridge club. Her lack of interest and decreased energy have got you worried, but you’re not sure what to do. Thankfully, helping a lethargic senior regain their “zest for life” is possible when using these tips.
Why Do Seniors Get Lethargic?
The number one cause of a lack of interest and decreased energy in the elderly population is fatigue. Once a senior begins feeling listless, they oftentimes lose interest in keeping up their appearance and engaging in normal activities. And, in most cases their fatigue is attributable to one or more of these factors:
- Blood anemia
- Depression or Loneliness
- Poor nutrition due to chewing or swallowing difficulties
- Sleep disorders, including insomnia and sleep apnea
- Thyroid problems, notably hypothyroidism
- Inflammatory disorders, like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Infections and illnesses, including the flu or urinary tract infections (UTIs)
For an aging in place senior, feeling lethargic for a long period of time can eventually threaten their at-home freedom and independence. The first step for your mom is taking her to the doctor for a complete physical and some blood work.
Keeping a Senior Recharged and Refreshed
Depending upon the cause, these are some proven ways to boost an elderly person’s energy levels:
This may be hard at first, but encourage your mother to do some low-impact forms of exercise, like water aerobics, walking or Yoga. In addition to increasing their energy, regular exercise also benefits seniors in many other ways, like improved heart and lung function, a stronger immune system, increased stamina and promoting a better night’s sleep.
While sleeping, our bodies repair damaged tissues and replenish depleted energy stores. But when we don’t get 7 to 9 hours of restful sleep per night, we feel drowsy and tired throughout the day. If mom’s constantly tired, try getting her to take “catnaps” periodically during the day. Regular exercise will also help mom sleep restfully for longer periods of time, and you may want to consider getting her a new mattress for her bed that optimally supports her body weight.
Dehydration can make a senior feel