Sleep apnea can affect patients of all ages, and no matter the patient in question, the treatment can mean some lifestyle changes that can take time to implement. For aging parents, these adjustments can be too difficult to make without outside support.
Changes to eating habits, evening behaviors, and sleep positions can take some time to get used to, but the relief a CPAP machine brings and the positive effect on overall health are well worth the effort. That’s why it is important to provide the support your parent may need during the process of adapting to sleeping with the CPAP machine. It can take weeks or even months to get used to wearing the CPAP mask to bed, but once the patient can keep the mask on all night, the symptoms of sleep apnea vanish and allow the patient a good restful sleep. In the case of some patients, who have suffered from sleep apnea from a young age and resisted seeing a doctor about the issue, this may be their first good sleep in decades.
If you have taken on the role of caretaker for your parent, or if you’re simply concerned about their overall health, you may wonder what the best way is to help someone adapt to sleep apnea treatment. If your aging parent has recently been diagnosed with sleep apnea and needs help treating the issue with a , here are some tips on the best ways to help.
Assist with Kicking Tobacco and Other Bad Habits
Smoking, poor diet, and lack of exercise can contribute to the severity of sleep apnea and keep the recommended treatment from working as well as it could. Older people may not understand the health risks of any form of tobacco, including chewing and pipe forms. Helping your parent quit or even cut down on tobacco use can help alleviate the symptoms of sleep apnea. Similarly, helping them eat a healthier diet with less salt and fried foods can help them feel better and get more sleep. Additionally, you can try to find ways to incorporate exercise into their daily routine. While you may not be able to get your parent to the gym for a full workout, a simple is enough for an older person to feel the health benefits.
Encourage Them to Persevere with CPAP Use
It can be hard to adjust to sleeping with a CPAP machine at any age, but especially once you are older and have trouble getting a good night’s rest. Adjusting can take even longer than it would for a younger patient, and it’s easy to get discouraged. Many new CPAP users give up during the initial weeks because the mask slips out of place or feels too strange as they try to sleep.
Encourage your parent to keep trying to get comfortable with the CPAP mask. Taking short naps with the face mask on is one easy way to get more accustomed to how it feels. If the mask keeps falling out of place, try adding extra straps along the nose or chin portion. This can help keep the mask from moving, particularly if the patient is an active sleeper who switches positions often.
Help Them Find an Easy Cleaning Regimen
Keeping the CPAP machine clean is a vital part of making sure your loved one gets optimal relief from it. Since cleaning should be done weekly, making the process as simple as possible is the best way to ensure that your parent continues to do it. Scrubbing the machine by hand with soap and water can be arduous for older people, which can lead to them to neglecting the cleaning process. Using a CPAP cleaner and sanitizer is often the easiest way for older people to stay on top of CPAP cleaning. It’s a much simpler than soap and water cleaning, and it’s much faster too. For example, the uses ozone power to clean the entire machine without any physical effort from the user. This process only takes 30 minutes, and you control it with the push of one button to make it as easy as possible.