If you have an elderly parent or loved one who suddenly won’t get out of bed in the morning or stays in bed all day, it can be quite concerning. In some cases, your family member may just need extra sleep due to feeling tired or sick.
However, if staying in bed starts to become a habit for your loved one, there could be several causes. In this article, we’ll explain some common reasons seniors refuse to get out of bed and offer some helpful tips to motivate elderly family members or friends to get out of bed and enjoy their day.
Why do Some Seniors Refuse to Get Out of Bed?
Some of the common reasons your senior family members may refuse to get out of bed include:
Depression or anxiety
Unfortunately, depression and anxiety can accompany the aging process. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 1 to 5% of elderly people suffer from depression. However, those numbers rise to 11.5% for hospitalized patients and about 13.5% for seniors who require home healthcare. Anxiety is also a common issue among senior citizens, affecting around 10-20% of the population.
Seniors who struggle to sleep at night frequently feel tired during the day. The result: it can be difficult to motivate seniors to get out of bed if they’re feeling exhausted. Several issues can cause sleep problems, including insomnia, depression, a poor diet, a lack of exercise, and medical conditions.
Advanced cases of dementia can extensively damage a person’s brain and can cause them to become weaker. This can cause seniors to sleep most of the day and be more restless and awake during the night. Seniors with dementia often have difficulty differentiating between day and night because of poor brain functioning, leading to increased daytime sleepiness.
Effects of medication
Some seniors take various prescription medications to treat a variety of conditions, including dementia, high blood pressure, and Alzheimer’s. While these are taken to help treat those ailments, seniors who take several pills a day can become fatigued and sleep more throughout the day. If your loved one is sleeping too much during the day, especially shortly after taking a dose of medication, contact a doctor to see if a new plan can be implemented to treat various health conditions.
Poor eating habits
Poor eating habits among the elderly can reduce energy levels and result in more illnesses, leading to frequent daytime naps. A poor diet and drinking excess alcohol and sugary drinks can also cause seniors to crash and sleep more during the day.
Seniors who live alone or have limited communication with friends and loved ones can develop a lack of emotional stimulation. In these cases, seniors can simply become bored and choose to spend the day in bed. We’ll discuss some tips in a bit about how to motivate seniors to get out of bed and enjoy the day.
Underlying health issues
If you or a family member has an underlying health issue such as lung disease, sleep apnea, cardiovascular issues, or obesity, it’s not uncommon to sleep more during the day. It’s estimated that as many as 20% of seniors experience daytime sleepiness.
How to Motivate Elderly to Get Out of Bed: Top Tips
Fortunately, many of these problems can be corrected with a few simple changes to your or your loved one’s lifestyle. Some of the top tips include:
Make a plan for the day
Develop a plan for tomorrow with your family member before the end of each day so they have something to look forward to when they wake up the next morning. This can be as simple as planning a walk around the block or taking a trip to the library. Include something in the plan that makes it worth waking up for.
Talk to a doctor or mental health provider
If your loved one is experiencing depression, anxiety, or negative side effects from taking multiple medications, reach out to a doctor or mental health professional. A health professional may recommend counseling for depression or prescribing an antidepressant. They can also check if any medication your loved one is currently on is leading to sleepiness during the day.
Consider home care
If your family member lives independently, consider hiring a professional elder care provider. A senior care provider can stop over to your loved one’s home once or twice a day to help get them out of bed in the morning. They can also handle day-to-day chores around the house, help with bathing, and pick up groceries.
Promote a healthy diet
Help promote a healthy diet by ensuring your relative or friend is eating foods rich in fiber, including vegetables and fruit, and incorporating lean protein and whole grains into their diet.
Incorporate exercise into the daily routine
Incorporating exercise into a senior family member’s daily routine provides numerous benefits, including increased energy and a better night’s sleep. This will make your loved one less tired during the day. Physical activity can include climbing stairs, walking, stretching, and maybe an occasional yoga class if they’re physically able.
Promote social interaction
An active social life can help improve emotional, physical, and mental health. This can play a large role in decreasing symptoms of depression among the elderly, leading to less time spent in bed. Consider visiting elderly family members or friends more frequently and ask other family members to stop by, too. You can also sign your senior loved one up for community events and other social activities.
Show them that they’re loved
Everyone wants to feel loved. This can include visiting your loved one frequently, hugging them, and telling them you love them. This can help control depression and give your family member a more positive outlook.
Develop a hobby
If your loved one lives alone and is frequently bored during the day – causing them to stay in bed more frequently – work with them to develop a hobby such as gardening, knitting, or working on puzzles to promote a greater sense of purpose.
If you’re worried that a loved one is spending too much time in bed, you’re not alone. Many seniors have difficulty motivating themselves to get out of bed for a variety of reasons, including depression, a poor diet, and the effects of medication. But by following some of these tips, you can ensure your family members have the strength and motivation to get out of bed each morning and enjoy the day.