BENGALURU: My 92-year-old grandmother is always sleeping. She sleeps throughout the day and wakes up only for meals. Is this normal?
Increased sleep/drowsiness is always a matter of concern while dealing with an elderly person. Check if she is taking any medicines like anti-allergy drugs or sedatives. Low sodium and thyroid levels can also cause drowsiness. Ageing, should not cause increased sleepiness.It is also important that one should not feed while an elderly person is sleepy as it may cause aspiration- a condition where food enters the air passage.
My father is in his late 70s and is fond of gardening. He spends hours in the backyard and complains of back pain and headache. I have told him to stop gardening but he insists it helps him keep busy. Please recommend any other hobbies that is safer for him to pursue?
Any activity that is done in moderation is always recommended in the elderly. Having said that, the term ‘moderation’ is very individualistic. It may not be prudent to request him to stop gardening altogether. But you may advise him to reduce the number of hours and make it less strenuous.
My 76-year-old grandmother has completely stopped eating. She keeps smoking and eats very little. . How can I make my grandmother eat again so that she regains her strength?
Smoking, weight loss and lack of appetite – a triad that needs to be looked into in detail. I would recommend that you see a doctor who can advise specific tests that need to be done. Smoking is a common problem in the elderly and it is difficult to wean them off this habit.
The expert is the chairman of Geriatric Medicine at Manipal Hospitals. For queries write to firstname.lastname@example.org