Pain and discomfort associated with restless legs syndrome can be mild or severe. Though this condition can affect people of all ages, severe cases are common among the senior population, especially older women. If your aging loved one wants to minimize the possibility of developing this condition, Philadelphia, PA, elder care experts recommend taking the following preventative measures.
Avoid Cigarettes and Coffee
If your loved one smokes or drinks coffee, he or she increases the chances of developing restless legs syndrome. Heavy intake of substances like nicotine, tobacco, and caffeine are known triggers for this condition.
Get Plenty of Iron
Various studies have associated restless legs syndrome with iron deficiency anemia. Make sure your loved one is getting a sufficient amount of iron in his or her diet. Serve more spinach, beef, turkey, chicken, oysters, canned sardines in oil, beans, and lentils.
Exercise More Often
Encourage your loved one to get into the habit of regular exercise. It doesn’t have to be strenuous, high-impact activity. A daily 30-minute walk, 15 minutes on a treadmill, stretching, or yoga can enhance your loved one’s sleep quality in many ways.
Engage in Mentally Stimulating Activities
If your loved one spends a lot of time in a sedentary state, encourage him or her to participate in activities that stimulate the mind. Chatting with other people in person or on the phone keeps the mind active, as does reading a book or playing a video game. These activities require more interaction than watching television and can lead to better sleep.
Massage the Legs
Massage your loved one’s legs, especially if he or she spends a lot of time seated. The stimulation promotes blood flow and increases circulation. The ideal time to receive a leg massage would be right before going to bed.
Practice Good Sleep Hygiene
Because rest is important, keep your loved one’s sleeping area quiet, cool, and dark. Healthy sleep habits, such as setting regular schedules for going to bed and getting up or doing crossword puzzles or reading just before bed, help reduce the possibility of fragmented sleep, a common symptom of restless legs syndrome.
If your loved one needs help maintaining healthier habits, consider hiring a professional caregiver from Home Care Assistance to assist with cooking, exercise, and mental and social stimulation. In addition to respite and live-in care, we also offer comprehensive Parkinson’s, stroke, and dementia care Philadelphia, PA, families trust. For more information and to schedule a free in-home consultation, please call (215) 645-4663 today.