Factors That Trigger Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in the Elderly

At some point in our lives, we feel tired and unable to perform even the simplest daily tasks. Sometimes, an exhausting activity precedes this feeling, and that is entirely normal. However, if the elder in your home feels the unrelenting feeling of exhaustion that grows gradually over time, maybe it’s about time to have your loved one—because he or she might be experiencing Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

If you want to know more about this condition, make sure to read further!

Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

The majority of people use the term “fatigue” to describe the feeling of tiredness or drowsiness, but experiencing fatigue is very different from the aforementioned conditions. Usually, tiredness and drowsiness are short-term conditions that generally disappear after a good night’s sleep. Chronic fatigue syndrome, on the other hand, is a more long-term condition. If your elderly loved one is having chronic fatigue, they may report feeling sleepy, lack of energy and motivation. They won’t usually find relief by just getting more sleep. You might also notice that your loved one is sleeping more at night and napping throughout the afternoon, yet never feeling well-rested.

Chronic fatigue is characterized by the following physical symptoms:

  • Muscle pain
  • Muscle weakness
  • Sleepiness
  • Constipation
  • Vision problems
  • Weight loss
  • Headache
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea

Chronic fatigue can also be characterized by mental exhaustion. This is usually common among seniors to feel stressed, whether it be about their finances, health, their families, or the impending future. When people reach retirement age, they are susceptible to boredom since they have so much free time on their hands. Your elderly loved one may feel depressed or have a hard time recalling his memories. When physical fatigue involves not having enough physical energy, mental fatigue means not having enough motivation or mental energy. Here are some symptoms of mental fatigue:

  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Lack of motivation
  • Poor memory recall
  • Mood swings
  • Slowed response time
  • Anxiety
  • Concentration problems

Illnesses that cause Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Sometimes, chronic fatigue can be caused by an underlying condition. For instance, people with arthritis and rheumatoid, both conditions that affect the joints, often experience tiredness. Those who have cancer may feel fatigued brought by the illness, treatments, or a combination of both.

Many conditions add up to the feeling of tiredness. These conditions include the following:

  • Taking specific medications, such as antihistamines, antidepressants, and medicines for pain and nausea
  • Viral or Bacterial infections
  • Chronic illnesses such as kidney disease, heart disease, diabetes, liver disease, thyroid disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, among others
  • Anemia
  • Immune system problems
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Sleep disorders such as sleep apnea
  • Undetected and untreated pain or disease like such as fibromyalgia
  • Undergoing medical treatments like radiation and chemotherapy
  • Recovering from major surgery
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

Other factors that cause Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in seniors

Lifestyle habits can also make your elderly loved one tired. Here are some factors that can be draining his/her energy:

Having too much caffeine – Drinks such as soda, coffee, and tea can inhibit your loved one from getting adequate sleep at night.

Drinking too much alcohol – Alcoholic beverages can mix up with the medicines your loved one is taking. Also, it affects how one reacts and thinks.

Staying up too late – Insufficient hours of sleep can put your loved one in a lethargic state.

Getting too much or little exercise – Regular exercise is important to maintain energy levels.

To detect the real deal behind your loved one’s chronic fatigue, we advise scheduling a consultation with his/her physician.

How to help seniors with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

The following tips can help your aging loved one cope up with chronic fatigue:

  • Exert more physical activity in the senior’s daily routine. However, ensure that you get authorization from his/her physician before starting any exercising program.
  • Change sleeping habits. Encourage him/her to get naps less than thirty minutes, and limit afternoon naps to get lengthier and better sleep at night.
  • Encourage your loved one to share his/her feelings with a therapist if he/she is feeling mentally fatigued.
  • Get fun and energetic around your loved one. Plan family events to let your loved one bond with the important people in his/her life. Laughter is the cheapest energy booster.
  • Plot relaxation moments for your loved one. He or She can listen to calm music, read, meditate, or enjoy a relaxing hobby such as knitting.