Tired senior woman sleeping on an armchair.

Chronic Fatigue and the Elderly

Some say that getting older and being tired just go hand in hand. To some extent, that is true. Our bodies simply don’t have the energy we once had and taking daily naps is often a part of a senior’s day-to-day. Taking a moment to rest and relax is normal for people of all ages and doesn’t necessarily mean there is a bigger health issue needing to be addressed.

When you or a loved one find themselves suffering from the kind of fatigue that can’t be cured by a quick cat nap or respite, there may be underlying issues that need to be addressed. We are talking about the kind of tiredness that makes it difficult to get out of bed, carry out normal daily activities or spend quality time with people they love. This kind of severe energy deficit is a potential sign that something more serious may be afoot.

Illnesses that Cause Fatigue

Seniors are prone to a host of illnesses that in themselves, can contribute to extreme tiredness. Sometimes, even the medications taken for other minor ailments contribute greatly to an overall feeling of tiredness and lack of energy.

Specific medical treatments, such as cancer treatments or therapies, radiation, or recovering from surgery are all related to fatigue and can be expected to improve when those therapies and recovery progress successfully. In addition, chronic diseases such as diabetes, thyroid issues, heart disease, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may lend themselves to associated fatigue and an overall lack of energy.

While there isn’t a lot that can be done about illness-related fatigue, simply understanding what is common and knowing how to manage it is important to overall health and happiness. It is important to mention these symptoms to a medical professional, in case there is an alternative medicine or treatment that may not cause as much fatigue while you get better.

Emotional Issues that Sap Energy

When a senior’s tiredness can’t be attributed to a physical illness or some ongoing medical treatment, taking time to address emotional wellness is warranted. Anxiety, depression, or grief can all cause a person to feel a lack of energy and socially withdraw, which leads to sleeping for longer periods of time as a means of emotional escape. A person who generally exhibits little desire to participate in normal activities is a key indicator that an emotional issue is at play. The lack of physical activity that often accompanies these emotional issues can also contribute to poor or ineffective sleep, which only compounds the feeling of lethargy or fatigue. The first sign of emotional distress should be followed up with prompt medical attention and an emotional evaluation.

Other Causes for Extreme Tiredness

Sometimes, there is no identifiable reason why seniors find themselves chronically fatigued, but it is really important to look for any and all causes and find ways to correct them. Maybe the solution is as simple as solving for boredom or inactivity, which may be present in residential settings as well as among those living alone.

Some of the other reasons why people experience extreme fatigue include having inconsistent bedtimes or nighttime routines, consuming too much caffeine or alcohol, and not eating well-balanced meals. Suffering nutritionally or getting too little physical exercise are big contributors to a lack of energy.

What Can Be Done to Combat Chronic Fatigue for Older Adults?

Making sure you or your loved one retains the energy needed to enjoy life fully isn’t to be taken lightly. When you or someone you love is chronically tired, it’s time to seek a medical examination and consultation.

At Chestnut Ridge Wallingford, our staff is always watching for those subtle signs that something isn’t quite right. Extreme tiredness or withdrawal from daily activities isn’t something to be ignored and we take all the steps possible to ensure you or your loved one remains happy and healthy. Medications are given correctly and on time, we prepare and serve nourishing meals, and our facility offers numerous social and emotional outlets to help combat those things that might lead to chronic fatigue and a lower quality of life.

Getting older doesn’t have to mean settling for being tired, sedentary, or alone. If you or someone you know needs this kind of special attention or is looking for a place to regain all the joy that life can bring, contact Chestnut Ridge. Schedule a personalized tour to see for yourself how others have found a vibrant and supportive Delaware County setting to help ensure that life is lived to its fullest.