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What Causes Tiredness in the Elderly?

Article by Daniel Westhead Daniel Westhead Sure Safe Alarms

Growing old is a natural part of life, and with age comes a variety of challenges. One of the most common complaints among seniors is feeling tired all the time. Fatigue can affect their quality of life, make them more prone to accidents and falls, and even lead to depression in some cases.

In this blog post, we will take a closer look at what causes fatigue in the elderly, including medical conditions, medications, and lifestyle factors. We will also discuss the signs of tiredness to watch out for and share tips on how to address it. Whether you are a caregiver or a senior looking to improve your energy levels, this post has everything you need to know about tiredness in the elderly.

Understanding fatigue in the elderly

As we age, our bodies undergo numerous changes that can contribute to fatigue, making it difficult to identify. The signs of fatigue in older adults may include decreased energy levels, difficulty concentrating, and changes in appetite or sleep patterns. Caregivers must recognise the signs of fatigue and address them by encouraging healthy habits and seeking medical attention if necessary.

Chronic conditions such as arthritis, depression, and heart disease can also contribute to fatigue in the elderly. In addition, lifestyle factors such as poor diet, lack of physical activity, and medication side effects can lead to exhaustion. Understanding the underlying causes of fatigue in the elderly is crucial for managing this common issue effectively.

Signs of tiredness in the elderly

As we age, tiredness can become a more frequent occurrence. Older adults may experience decreased energy levels and difficulty sleeping or staying asleep. Moreover, increased irritability or mood changes may also be an indication of fatigue. Physical symptoms such as muscle weakness, loss of coordination, and slower movements are other possible signs of tiredness in the elderly. As such, personal alarms with fall detection can provide some much-needed peace of mind when these symptoms arise.

Common causes of fatigue in seniors

Chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis are common culprits of tiredness in seniors. In addition, the medications taken by older adults may have side effects that cause fatigue. Poor sleep quality or insomnia can also result in daytime tiredness. Below, we take a closer look at what causes tiredness in the elderly:

Medications and medical treatments

As seniors age, they may require medications to manage conditions like high blood pressure, depression, or pain. Unfortunately, many of these medications can cause fatigue as a side effect. Furthermore, medical treatments like chemotherapy or radiation therapy can also contribute to feelings of tiredness. It's essential for seniors to discuss any medication or treatment-related fatigue with their healthcare provider so that adjustments to dosages or alternative treatments may be considered.

Sleeping problems and insomnia

Insomnia is a common cause of fatigue in the elderly. It's important for seniors to aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night and establish a regular sleep routine. Improving sleep hygiene, avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bedtime, and creating a comfortable sleeping environment can also help combat insomnia and improve overall energy levels.

Chronic pain and inflammation

These conditions can result from various causes such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, or other medical conditions that cause constant discomfort. Inflammation in the body can also drain energy levels, making daily activities more tedious. Managing chronic pain with medication, physical therapy, or other treatments can help improve energy levels and reduce fatigue.

Nutrient deficiencies and anaemia

The ageing process can result in changes in the digestive system that may make it difficult to absorb nutrients from food. Vitamin B12 and iron deficiencies are common culprits when it comes to tiredness in the elderly. Anaemia, caused by a lack of red blood cells, is another potential cause of fatigue. Eating a balanced diet and taking supplements, if necessary, can help alleviate these issues and increase energy levels for seniors.

Lifestyle factors that contribute to fatigue in seniors

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is crucial for seniors to combat fatigue. Lack of physical activity can make the body feel more tired and sluggish, while poor nutrition can lead to low energy levels. Chronic illnesses such as heart disease or diabetes can also contribute to exhaustion in the elderly. Additionally, certain medications and medical treatments may have side effects that cause fatigue.

Here’s a little more on the lifestyle factors that can cause excessive tiredness:

Poor diet

Our bodies require fewer calories as we age. But we still need the same amount of nutrients to maintain good health. Many seniors struggle with eating a balanced diet due to dental problems or difficulty cooking for themselves.


This is also common among older adults because their sense of thirst decreases with age. Drinking enough water throughout the day can help combat tiredness and improve overall well-being.

Lack of physical activity

Exercise is crucial for maintaining energy levels and reducing the risk of chronic diseases. Even light exercise, such as walking or stretching, can have significant benefits for senior health. Seniors should speak with their doctor before starting any new exercise program.

Incorporating physical activity into daily routines, such as taking a short walk after meals, can also be beneficial. Personal alarms with GPS tracking can add some reassurance for those who want to exercise independently away from their home.

Hormonal changes and stress

Women who are going through the menopause may experience fatigue due to hormonal fluctuations, while stress can cause exhaustion and lethargy in both men and women. It is crucial to identify any underlying medical conditions that may be contributing to fatigue, such as thyroid issues or anaemia.

Seeking professional treatment and care options

A doctor can conduct tests to determine the cause of tiredness in the elderly, such as anaemia or sleep apnoea. Treatment options may include medication, lifestyle changes, or therapy. In some cases, elderly individuals may benefit from in-home care services to reduce stress and assist with daily tasks. Prioritising self-care and rest is also essential for managing fatigue in the elderly.

Preventing fatigue through healthy habits and self-care

Maintaining good overall health will help with preventing fatigue in the elderly. A balanced diet, regular exercise, and proper sleep are all essential components of a healthy lifestyle. Simple changes like drinking enough water, focusing on nutrient-dense foods, and engaging in light physical activity can have a significant impact on energy levels.

Practicing relaxation techniques and stress management can also reduce fatigue-causing anxiety and tension. Encouraging social engagement and mental stimulation through activities like reading, puzzles, or music can further improve energy levels and overall quality of life for seniors. By prioritising healthy habits and self-care practices, elderly individuals can maintain their vitality and avoid the debilitating effects of chronic fatigue.

Feel safe with SureSafe

Tiredness and fatigue are common in older adults, but that doesn’t mean they should be ignored. Seniors are at higher risk for health problems, and fatigue can impact their quality of life significantly.

If this sounds familiar, a SureSafe personal alarm can provide some much-needed reassurance. With clever features like fall detection and GPS tracking, our personal alarms can provide a fast response if tiredness causes any serious issues.

If you or a loved one are experiencing signs of tiredness, and you would like to know more about SureSafe alarms, don’t hesitate to contact a member of our friendly team on 0333 254 8199, use our live chat, or request a call back.

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