Occasionally feeling tired is normal for people of more ages. But for persons over 65, fatigue can happen more often. We tend to hear complaints of having a lack of energy after doing home chores, after making dinners for special occasions like Thanksgiving, or after the grandchildren leave.
Fatigue is not unavoidable with age, but several age-related reasons can cause tiredness. Understanding the causes of declining energy can help you determine if it is something to be concerned about.
Some lifestyle habits can increase fatigue. Contributing factors that drain your energy include:
- Lack of sleep: Having enough hours of sleep makes one feel more energetic. You should set a regular time for going to bed and waking up, and get at least 7 and up to 9 hours of sleep daily.
- Too much caffeine: We all enjoy a good cup of soda, tea, or coffee. But having these caffeinated drinks can interfere with your sleep. You should limit your daily caffeine intake and avoid having them in the evening.
- Stress: Sometimes, we inadvertently feel stressed over things, and we may not be aware of it. Older adults commonly feel stressed over changes in financial status or lifestyle after retirement or worry about not being able to live independently. Should you have strong concerns about the latter, you can consider looking into assisted living or skilled nursing communities, depending on your physical condition.
Fatigue can also be a warning sign of something more serious. Heart disease causes tiredness, as the person is unable to get enough oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. This symptom appears in various types of heart conditions, even the milder ones like narrowed arteries or anemia. If you were not previously diagnosed with any medical condition and you have been constantly feeling tired easily of late, you might want to consult your doctor to verify if there is something wrong.
If you are currently on medication, they could be the culprit for your fatigue. Drowsiness and tiredness are common side effects of many medications. However, should your medications be causing you large physical strain or stress, be sure to speak to your doctor about it.
As the body progresses with age, it sees changes such as reduced muscle mass and a decline in mental energy. Older adults have about 30 percent less muscle mass than their younger counterparts, which means decreased strength and feeling tired more easily when doing activities, even simple ones. To compensate for this, you can do exercises that increase muscle strength and flexibility. You can do simple home exercises like stretching or wall push-ups or join some senior exercise programs in your neighborhood.
You may have also experienced difficulty concentrating on conversations or tasks, and now take a longer time to learn new things. The good news is that you can slow the process. Keep your mind active by picking up new skills and engaging in cognitive-stimulating activities like playing board games, bingo, and puzzles. You can even get a friend or family member to join you in these activities.