Friday, November 4, 2011

Older Adult Sleep Problems: Drug-Free Solutions (Research, Video .25)

Older adults have sleep problems just like millions of others do. Unfortunately, they often find inappropriate treatments that they may think are effective. This sleep research, conducted by the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, focused on the perceived effectiveness of older adults’ various sleep treatments. Information was gathered through a mailed questionnaire to a community-based sample of older adults with 242 responding. These are examples of the sleep interventions older adults used:

1)    Watching television, listening to the radio, and reading were the most popular interventions.
2)    Taking medications such as pain medication and prescription sleeping pills were also common. Older adults perceived sleeping pills as being most effective.
3)    Drinking alcohol was another form of self-treatment.
About half of those using alcohol and prescribed over the-counter sleep aids had not discussed their sleep problems with their doctor. Not discussing sleep problems and treatments they are using with their doctors can worsen their problems and possibly put them in serious danger healthwise. Healthcare providers and caregivers should make it a point to initiate conversations with older adults about sleeping patterns.
In this video, Dr. David Schulman, Sleep Specialist at Emory University, recommends the following seven drug-free sleep tips. Older adults, in addition to keeping their healthcare providers informed, can use them:

Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback at many booksellers and in e-book form at Amazon and Barnes and Noble booksellers.

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