Mr. and Mrs. E, both 83 years of age, live alone in a busy, high-crime area of a large city. Mr. E has mild dementia but is able to function well with his wife’s assistance and supervision. Over the past year, however, he has had significant changes in his sleep pattern in which he awakens several times during the night to use the bathroom and sleeps most of the day. He has a tendency to drink caffeinated sodas when he awakens if his wife doesn’t stop him, so she often will get out of bed when he does to make sure he drinks caffeine-free liquids. Mrs. E’s frequent awakening with her husband compounds a long term she has had with getting out of bed when she hears any street sound to assure no one is breaking into their home. Mrs. E is not comfortable napping during the day and tends to feel tired most of the time.
1. What risks do their sleep patterns present for Mr. and Mrs. E?
2. What recommendations would you have for this couple?
3. What non-pharmacologic measures can be incorporated into an older adult lifestyle to facilitate sleep?