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Activity Directors - Fatigue in Older Adults What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrom? - APNCC.org Credentialling Center National Board Certification - April 6th N.A.P.T. Activitydirectoruniversity.org


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Fatigue in Older Adults
Each and everyone one of us will find ourselves feeling tired from time to time but usually feeling refreshed after a solid night’s sleep. However, normal aging and related health concerns may contribute to sleeping difficulties known to result in unrelenting fatigue. Sometimes, fatigue can be the first sign that the body is experiencing some health issue.

Many medical problems and treatments can add to fatigue included but not limited to:
  • Taking certain medications, such as antidepressants, antihistamines, and medicines for nausea and pain management.
  • Undergoing medical treatments, like chemotherapy and radiation, or recovering from major surgery.
  • Fending off infections (Flu, bronchitis, etc.).
  • Chronic diseases:
    diabetes,
    heart disease,
    kidney disease,
    liver disease,
    thyroid disease, and
    chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Rheumatoid arthritis; a painful condition that affects the joints, often complain of fatigue.
  • Untreated or persistent pain and diseases like fibromyalgia.
  • Diagnosed Anemia
  • Sleep apnea and other sleep disorders
  • Those afflicted with Cancer may battle fatigued from the disease progression, treatments, or both.
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome  ***
What Is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) or ME/CFS, is a condition in which fatigue lasts 6 months or longer and is not related to other diseases or conditions. People with CFS experience symptoms that make it hard to do daily tasks like dressing or bathing. Along with severe fatigue that doesn’t get better with rest, CFS symptoms can include problems with sleep, memory and concentrating, pain, dizziness, sore throat, and tender lymph nodes.
What Else Causes Fatigue?
Some lifestyle habits may affect energy:
  • Having too much caffeine. Drinking caffeinated drinks like soda, tea, or coffee late in the day can keep you from getting a good night's sleep. Limit the amount of caffeine you have during the day and avoid it in the evening.

    Commentary: Our residents LOVE what they LOVE to drink and eat and sometimes it is wise to indulge their cravings if it helps to increase nutritional intake for a resident that shows decreased interest in eating.

    Some of these cravings however, are bread out of habit/established patterns over the years and drinking that morning cup of Joe can leaned itself to an all day partaking. When that cup of coffee contains caffeine, enough of it may contribute to sleep disturbances. Consult with your nursing staff when you notice signs of fatigue to investigate if it stems from over caffeinated drinks.
     
  • Getting too little or too much exercise. Regular exercise can boost your energy levels, but don’t overdo it.

    Commentary: Age progression may bring an increased challenge to remain as     active as the individual may have been in younger days and may be due to illness,     body decline due to the normal aging process or lifestyle changes. Regular physical     activity may improve sleep. It may also help reduce feelings of depression and     stress while improving mood and overall well-being.

    Almost anyone, at any age, can do some type of physical activity. Even moderate exercise may improve appetite, energy, and outlook. Some people find that exercises combining balance and breathing (for example, tai chi or yoga) improve your residents energy level during daytime hours to get a restful night’s sleep.

    NOTE: Consult with nursing staff/physical therapy to ensure that you meet the needs and limitations of your resident.
     
  • Daytime Naps- Try to avoid long naps (over 30 minutes) late in the day. Long naps may cause unwanted grogginess during the daytime and may make it harder for your resident to fall asleep at night.  You are charged with keeping your resident engaged during the daytime hours to help them more readily slip into those nighttime Zs.
Can Emotions Cause Fatigue?
Absolutely! Stress, anxiety, worry can take a toll on the soul (and the body) and we are seeing residents with more elevated emotions and unwanted behavior during the current pandemic. In addition, residents are sensing the loss of family and friends (due to social distancing) taking a toll on everyone and often depleting personal energy. Fatigue can be linked to many conditions, including:
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Grieving for loved ones or friends
  • Loss of control
Be on the lookout for resident fatigue and do what you all do best during the current pandemic and everyday throughout the year.

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/aging-and-sleep
https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/fatigue-older-adults
Have a topic request or question for Celeste? Send them over to celestechase@activitydirector.org
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