Restless leg syndrome, also referred to as RLS, impacts approximately 10 percent of the total population of the United States, or 1 in every 10 people. This condition is associated with symptoms such as feeling creepy crawling, tingling, itching, tugging, or aching sensations within their legs that can leave them with the irresistible urge to move around or get up and walk. While these symptoms are not linked to any serious health issues, they can be difficult for your parent to deal with. Depending on the severity and frequency of the symptoms, your parent may not be able to sleep well, not get enough rest, and begin to experience serious issues associated with this deprivation. As a family caregiver, you can help to minimize this impact by finding ways to help your parent cope with their symptoms.
Use these tips to help a senior with RLS cope with their symptoms:
- Take a bath. A warm bath can help to relax the muscles, reducing the symptoms. This can be particularly effective in the evening
- Massages. Rubbing the affected muscles can reduce the sensations and provide the stimulation they crave without your parent having to get up and walk around
- Use temperature therapy. Hot and cold packs, used either independently or alternately, can reduce the sensations. Work with your parent to identify which sensation is preferable, or if they respond to the alternation. Remember to protect the skin from direct contact with heat or cold, and only use it for short stretches of time to prevent damage
- Talk to their doctor. For more severe or long-lasting symptoms, your parent may need medication. Talk to their doctor and ensure your parent stays compliant by taking these medications how and when they are supposed to so they can get maximum benefit
- Avoid caffeine. Discourage your parent from using stimulants such as caffeine, particularly close to when they go to bed. These can increase symptoms and make it even more difficult to sleep
- Stay active. Getting enough exercise can provide stimulation to the muscles that helps them relax, and reduces the incidence and severity of RLS symptoms
- Set a sleep schedule. Going to bed and getting up at the same time each day is an important part of ensuring your body gets the rest it needs. Encourage your parent to practice this sleep hygiene so they can maximize their rest, and avoid exhaustion that can increase symptoms
Coping with ongoing health issues can be challenging for your senior. As their family caregiver, it can be difficult for you to watch them struggle with these health problems, and feel as though you are not able to give them the level of care they deserve, or that they would benefit from additional care. Introducing elder care into your approach for them can be a fantastic way to resolve this issue. An elderly home care services provider can be with your aging parent on a customized scheduled to meet their needs while also keeping you at the forefront of their care. This gives your parent ongoing access to the quality of care they deserve, while giving you the flexibility and help you need to maintain their care, as well as the needs of the others in your life who depend on you.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care in Princeton, NJ, please call the caring staff at Care Street Home Care. You can reach our Mercer/Burlington Division at (609) 496-5666.
Dr. Shelly, as he is fondly known, has served as an Alzheimer’s Support Group Facilitator in Mercer County and is a Certified Dementia Instructor. Knowledgeable, compassionate, and unusually devoted, his guidance is crucial in helping families understand their options and render decisions for their loved ones’ care plan. Dr. Shelly’s extensive experience, sincere and pleasant demeanor, and professional affiliations have made him a vital asset to Care Street.
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