There are many causes to fatigue. As we age, the condition seems to worsen. According to a study published in the Journal of Gerontology, “Almost one in five seniors report they have so little energy that they spend most of the day sitting on the sofa.” It has become so prevalent that many in society, including health care professionals, see it as a normal part of the aging process. According to an article by Steven Gambert, MD in Consultant 360, “A 2010 study…showed that healthcare professionals tended to give a low priority to evaluating older persons reporting fatigue; in contrast, patients rated fatigue as one of the most important symptoms needing to be evaluated.”
What Causes Fatigue in the Elderly?
There are numerous illnesses, emotions, lifestyle choices, and medications that cause fatigue. The possible reasons are so vast that it becomes difficult to determine exactly what is causing this symptom. In a study conducted by researchers at Columbia University, experiencing lack of energy was likely to be linked to joint problems, urinary incontinence, hearing problems, depression, social isolation, and taking medications for pain control. Other diseases associated with this complaint are heart, kidney, or lung disease and anemia.
There are a considerable number of medications that carry the possible side effect of fatigue. These include some types of blood pressure medications, statin drugs, and tranquilizers or benzodiazepines commonly used to treat anxiety, depression or insomnia. Proton pump inhibitors used to treat digestive disorders and antidepressants also make the list of potential fatigue producers.
How to Help.
Make a list of all the medications, supplements and over-the-counter remedies that your parent is on and then set up an appointment with their primary health care provider. Often there are alternative medications that can be prescribed, varying doses, or options that may limit potential interactions between drugs. There are also alternative therapies that may be able to address some of your parent’s issues.
If your parent has been medically assessed and no specific cause has been ascertained, consider helping them make some lifestyle choices that can increase energy. These include incorporating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains and nuts and limiting processed foods. A dietary approach that includes “grazing” may prove to be beneficial. Schedule a healthy snack every few hours such as avocado and whole grain crackers, raw almonds and an apple, or sliced vegetables and a dip. Exercise is one of the most important factors in increasing one’s energy level. If joint pain is limiting their mobility, consider water aerobics at the local YMCA.
Elderly Care Provider.
As previously noted, isolation is associated with fatigue. Consider obtaining the services of an elderly care provider for your parent if they need assistance with everyday activities and if they spend a large amount of their day alone. These professionals can provide the care, compassion and company so important to your loved one as they age.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elderly care in Oakmont, CA, call At Your Service Home Care. Call today! (707) 573-1003
She became a discharge planner and immediately fell in love with the concept of home care and the autonomous clinical practice it affords nurses. Dr. Lucy was hooked and has been a strong supporter of home care ever since.Believing people need advocates in healthcare systems, she has championed that cause across the acute care and post-acute care setting.
Dr. Lucy has worked in every aspect of home care from Medicare Certified, DME, Infusion, Hospice and finally Private Duty/Private Pay services. She also works as a home care consultant across the country and as a legal nurse consultant for the home care industry.
Having worked in all areas of home care, Dr. Lucy has a well-rounded perspective of the challenges facing patients, families and the home care industry, and as a provider she advocates for patients through the maze of health care services. Dr. Lucy celebrated over 37 years as a nurse and patient advocate.
Dr. Lucy has a Baccalaureate Degree in Nursing from Lewis University, Romeoville, Illinois.In 1994, she received her Masters of Science in Health Service Administration from St. Mary's University, Moraga, California. Dr. Lucy received her Doctor of Nursing Practice awarded in 2016, graduating with Distinction and a 4.0 GPA.
She did her doctoral work on the global dementia crisis, aging and prevention strategies for healthy living. Developed dementia and Alzheimer's disease plans for aging patients leaving the hospital setting or entering long-term care or home health and hospice environments. She also developed a specialized program for those at risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
In 1992, Dr. Lucy was designated CAHSAH Certified Home Care Administrator in the inaugural offering of this designation through the California Association for Health Services at Home (CAHSAH).
She is the founder and CEO of Creative Solutions Home Care Consulting Services and At Your Service Nursing & Home Care, a concierge nursing & home care agency that provides the services she believes are essential for seniors to age in place.She offers a higher level of care allowing people to be in their own homes with an emphasis on independence, safety, and quality of life.
Dr. Lucy is the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) and sits on the Board of Directors for California Association for Health Services at Home (CAHSAH).
She has served on the boards for both state and national board associations, and is currently on the following boards and committees: Board of Directors, California State Association for Health Services at Home (CAHSAH), 2002-present, National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC's) Private Duty Home Care Association Director, and multiple state and national home care committees.
Dr. Lucy goes to Washington, DC, several times a year to advocate for senior services and home care issues. She was past Commissioner for the Sonoma Commission on Human Rights.She is past chair of the local Senior Advocacy Services.
Latest posts by Lucy Andrews DNP, RN, MS (see all)
- Are You Taking Care of You While You’re Being a Caregiver? - July 17, 2018
- Why Are You Avoiding a Self-Care Plan? - July 10, 2018
- How Do You Start Talking about Tough Stuff with Your Senior? - July 3, 2018