4 Tips for Meeting Nighttime Caregiving Challenges
Nighttime caregiving can be tricky if your loved one wakes up often or suffers from dementia. Try making these changes to address the common challenges of overnight care to give yourself peace of mind.
1. Create a Comfortable Space
Talk with your loved one’s doctor about how to make the bedroom as comfortable as possible. This is especially important if chronic pain is a concern. Soft bedding, mattress toppers and supportive pillows can all be beneficial.
If your loved one can’t seem to get through the night without waking up, provide something relaxing for him or her to do until it’s possible to fall back to sleep. Avoid anything involving a screen, as this can make insomnia worse. Stick with activities like reading, simple crafts or puzzle games that can be completed in soft lighting.
2. Minimize Bathroom Visits
It’s not unusual for seniors to need to urinate during the night, but there will be times you won’t want to have your own sleep interrupted to help them.
Consider using adult diapers or providing a bedside commode so that your loved one doesn’t have to walk to the bathroom on their own, which can increase the risk for falls, especially in a dark hallway..
If the frequency of nighttime urination suddenly increases, schedule a doctor’s appointment to make sure it’s not being caused by an infection.
3. Take Safety Precautions for Fall Prevention
If your loved one is still mobile, make sure he or she can get around the house safely at night by:
• Illuminating all paths between rooms
• Installing additional lighting, such as nightlights or wall-mounted LEDs
• Removing cords and clutter, which can be tripping hazards
When caring for someone with dementia, consider using a baby monitor or installing a bed alarm to alert you to nighttime wandering.
4. Make Sure YOU Get Enough Rest
Being deprived of sleep can affect your judgement and make regular caregiving duties seem more overwhelming than usual. It’s critical for you to get enough sleep to feel refreshed, so you’ll want to prioritize this aspect of self-care.
Wind down at night with a bedtime routine, and grab naps during the day if you feel like you need the extra sleep.. If necessary, ask a friend or family member to come be with your loved one while you catch up on rest.
As with any aspect of caregiving, consider seeking outside help if you feel burned out or overwhelmed. Caring Home Care provides certified in-home and live-in caregivers that are familiar with the difficulties involved in overnight care. They can alleviate some of the challenges you might face with overnight caregiving duties.