You may not think there’s much difference between your aging relative feeling sleepy or being fatigued, but there is a great deal of difference when it comes to their health. Fatigue can be a sign of some serious health conditions that need medical treatment. Understanding the difference can help you to know when your older family member just needs a nap or when it’s time to see a doctor.  

What Does Sleepiness Look Like? 

When a person feels sleepy, they just really want to fall asleep. It’s that feeling you get after eating a big meal and relaxing with your feet up in front of the television. Your eyes drift shut, and you drop off to sleep. The longer you force yourself to stay awake, the more sleepy you feel. After sleeping, the feeling goes away.  

What Does Fatigue Look Like? 

Fatigue is more like exhaustion. It makes people feel like their arms and legs are heavy. They just don’t have the energy to do much of anything. It causes them to feel like they are dragging through the day, both on a physical and mental level. Someone who is feeling fatigued may have the desire to take a nap, just as with sleepiness. However, when they wake up, they don’t feel any better. They are still tired. Or, they may not be able to fall asleep at all. 

What Can Cause Fatigue? 

Fatigue can be caused by many different things, including some serious medical conditions.

Some possible causes of fatigue in older adults are: 

Mental Health Conditions: Many mental health problems can cause fatigue, including stress and depression. 

Allergies: Allergies can cause chronic fatigue.  

Chronic Pain: Pain can wake your aging relative up during the night, making them tired during the day. Some diseases that cause chronic pain, like fibromyalgia, are also associated with sleep disturbances, including sleep apnea.  

Cancer: Cancer can cause fatigue as can cancer treatment. Fatigue is a common side effect of chemotherapy and radiation therapy.  

Anemia: About 3 million Americans have anemia. It’s a condition in which the body doesn’t have enough red blood cells to carry oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. This can leave your aging relative feeling tired. 

Elderly care providers can assist older adults who suffer from fatigue regardless of the cause. An elderly care provider can help them with tasks around the house that they are too tired to complete on their own, like vacuuming, dusting, and other cleaning chores. Elderly care providers can also cook healthy meals for them, which can support their overall health and may lessen fatigue. Finally, an elderly care provider can remind the older adult when it is time to take medications that treat conditions causing fatigue.  

Sources:  https://www.verywellhealth.com/sleepiness-fatigue-difference-3973906 

https://www.webmd.com/balance/how-tired-is-too-tired 

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/248002.php 

 

If you or an aging loved-one are considering Elderly Care Services in Temecula CA, talk to the caring staff at Cambrian Home Care today. (562) 498-1800 / (877) 390-4300.

 

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