Grandma May Have Some Trouble Sleeping at Assisted Living and Here Are a Few Ideas How You Might Be Able to Help
If your elderly grandmother is spending her overnights at assisted living, such as for respite care options or has moved in, but she’s struggling to sleep well at night, there are a few questions you should ask first.
The biggest question is how long she has been there? When people make a significant life change, like moving into a new apartment or home, it can cause a lot of stress and anxiety. Moving is one of the top three stressors in life, even for people who are anticipating and are enthusiastic about the move, it can still be stressful.
Stress can cause insomnia and other sleep difficulties. Before you try to encourage her or even respond to her pleas to leave and go stay with you or return home or something else, here are a few ideas that may help her feel more relaxed.
1. Encourage her to speak to her doctor.
There might be a new prescription medication she’s taking that can cause insomnia or sleep difficulties. A new prescription medication or other drug that she is taking might be interacting with something else she has been taking, too.
There may also be certain medical conditions that are exacerbating the sleep difficulties that have nothing to do with her moving to a new place. When you encourage her to speak to the doctor, encourage her to ask specific questions, get to the root cause, and not immediately assume it’s because she is now at a different environment every day, just for overnights, or even for a couple of weeks.
2. Plan a visit.
Your grandmother might be lonely. She may feel isolated. She may be extremely shy and is having difficulty meeting people. Some of that shyness is rooted in stress and anxiety and that could be a reason why she is still staying up late, staring at the walls, having difficulty sleeping.
If you are able, plan a visit. Sit down with her, talk, get her to show you the facility, the grounds, and hopefully introduce you to some of the other residents there. When you visit, you are showing her not only that you care, but that it is this important to you that she feels comfortable.
3. Let her talk and listen to her.
Sometimes people are stressed and feel isolated and alone and just want somebody to hear them. This could describe your grandmother perfectly. She may feel as though she has lost complete control of her life, even though she hasn’t, not when she chooses a quality assisted living facility for her future.
When you sit down and have conversations with her, make sure you give her ample time to talk. Don’t cut her off, speak over her, or try to answer questions for her. Instead, spend more time listening, even if there are gaps of silence between her words.
When you listen and respond and let her know you heard her loud and clear, that can assuage a lot of stress and anxiety, helping her feel more comfortable when she goes to bed at night.