Feeling tired occasionally is normal, but when you consistently lack energy and struggle to complete tasks as a result, you may be suffering from fatigue. Many older adults experience fatigue, and there are many reasons it occurs. Read on to learn some of the most common reasons for fatigue in seniors.
Along with ongoing feelings of sadness or hopelessness, fatigue is one of the main symptoms of depression, a condition that affects 5% to 7% of seniors worldwide. Treatments for depression include antidepressant medications and psychotherapy, a type of talk therapy performed by a licensed mental health professional.
Prescription medications taken to manage chronic conditions may cause fatigue or sleepiness as a side effect. Common culprits include:
If medication-related fatigue is interfering with your daily life, your medical provider may be able to switch you to a different drug or adjust your dose. Don't stop taking anything your doctor has prescribed to try to treat fatigue on your own.
Seniors who've recently lost a spouse or loved one may experience physical symptoms of grief like fatigue. Research shows that grief support groups can greatly diminish the physical and mental effects of grief. Search online for groups in Monument, CO, that are accepting new members, or join a virtual support group that meets on social media or via video chat.
Chemotherapy treatments for cancer can cause ongoing fatigue. Seniors may also feel fatigued following surgeries, such as hip or knee replacements. Typically, fatigue caused by medical treatments and procedures resolves on its own over time. Be patient with yourself, get plenty of rest and follow your medical provider's aftercare guidelines.
Stress due to relationship problems, health concerns, financial issues and other causes can lead to feelings of fatigue. In some cases, seniors who are stressed may feel exhausted but find it difficult to sleep. While you may not be able to eliminate stress, you can lessen its effects. Download a guided meditation or deep breathing app that can help you relax. Regular exercise can also help you better manage stress. Choose walking, water aerobics, cycling or a program geared for seniors like the one offered to residents at Bethesda Gardens Monument senior living community.
People who experience chronic pain from arthritis or other medical conditions may also suffer from fatigue. In some cases, fatigue occurs due to pain interfering with sleep or as a side effect of medications taken for the condition. If you're dealing with both persistent pain and fatigue, your medical provider may be able to adjust your treatment plan to better control your symptoms.
A variety of medical conditions can cause ongoing fatigue. Examples include:
If you have a chronic medical condition, let your medical provider know about your fatigue. It may be a sign that you need your treatment plan adjusted.
Iron-deficiency anemia happens when your body doesn't get enough iron and can't manufacture healthy red blood cells as a result. Seniors with the condition may experience fatigue because their cells don't carry oxygen through their bodies effectively. Medical providers can diagnose iron deficiency anemia with a blood test. Usually, iron supplements are recommended for people with this type of anemia.
Not getting enough good quality sleep can lead to feelings of fatigue in seniors. To sleep better, try the following:
Not getting enough of certain vitamins and minerals through the foods you eat could lead to feelings of fatigue. Magnesium and vitamin B12 deficiencies are both associated with tiredness and loss of energy, and seniors are at an increased risk for both. Blood work can determine if you're lacking any nutrients. If you are, a registered dietitian can put together a healthy eating plan that can help you increase your intake of beneficial vitamins or minerals. Your medical provider may also recommend dietary supplements in some cases.
If you're dealing with ongoing fatigue, talk to your medical provider. They can examine you and order tests to diagnose the exact cause of your symptoms. Then, they can recommend medical treatments, lifestyle changes and self-care techniques that may help boost your energy levels.
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