Women Tend to Give Up Sleep for Others: A Caregiver Dilemma

Posted: 8/26/2013 3:00 PM by Interim HealthCare
A significant problem that can face any caregiver is not taking care of themselves properly. While this issue can be a problem for both men and women, it’s women who tend to give up sleep, and other comforts, more often for the people they take care of. Mothers are often viewed as the primary care providers for children, though many men and women both work full-time jobs.

The reason for this behavioral distinction is rooted in societal expectations that date back centuries, even to the beginnings of civilization. While this behavior could be deemed to be natural, it doesn’t mean it’s a health aspect, especially when it’s related to providing home care to elderly patients.

Why Would Family Caregivers Give Up Sleep?

There are many different elderly patients who require around the clock care to live at home. Some could be Alzheimer’s or other dementia patients while others may be stroke victims who require assistance to take care of the most basic necessities of life. There are many different reasons and scenarios why in-home care patients would require assistance, even in the middle of the night.

As more caregivers tend to be women, they are also more apt to sacrifice a good night’s sleep tending to the care and health and safety needs of the seniors in their care. It’s a situation that could lead to deterioration in their own health, leading to an inability to continue providing the level of care that patient requires.

How to Overcome this Dilemma

Many family caregivers don’t report the times when they give up sleep to provide care for their aging loved ones, so it is often an underreported issue. However, doctors and researchers continue to highlight that the average individual requires a minimum of seven hours of restful sleep per night to maintain health and vitality.

‘Restful’ sleep is the operative word, so when a person wakes up frequently to assist a patient, for example, even if they get six hours of sleep, they are not likely reaching the healthy REM level of sleep that is needed for the brain to rest and the body to recover.

It’s important that women, and men, maintain healthy sleep patterns and habits and if a family caregiver is not getting the proper amount of rest, this may need to be addressed by considering home care at night.  If you or an aging family member are looking for home care services to assist a family caregiver, be sure to contact Interim HealthCare today. G+