REM Sleep Behavior Disorder in Aging Adults with Parkinson’s

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REM Sleep Disorder in Seniors with Parkinson in Edmonton, AB

arkinson’s disease (PD) is a complex condition often characterized by a loss of motor control, involuntary tremors, muscle stiffness, and difficulty maintaining balance. One of the early signs of PD is difficulty reaching a recuperative level of sleep, known as the REM (rapid eye movement) stage. Disruptions within this phase of sleep can affect the severity of other symptoms associated with Parkinson’s

Seniors with Parkinson’s disease or other disorders often need constant care and assistance with daily tasks. Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Edmonton Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.

Linking Parkinson’s Disease with REM Sleep Behavior Disorder

In a study involving people with REM sleep behavior disorder (characterized by acting out dreams during sleep), nearly a third of the individuals participating in the study showed signs of having Parkinson’s disease, suggesting a link between PD and the disruption of REM sleep. Some other sleep problems commonly associated with Parkinson’s include:

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
    • Nightmares (often causing REM sleep to be interrupted)
    • Periodic leg movement disorder
    • Nocturia (waking up frequently at night to urinate)


Older adults with Parkinson’s disease can benefit from receiving professional in-home care. If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of senior care families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

Treating REM Sleep Issues in Seniors with Parkinson’s

REM sleep disorder can be especially troublesome for Parkinson’s caregivers and family members, since acting out dreams can include wandering or lashing out at the person in the same bed. Clonazepam is one of the drugs that has been shown to be effective for addressing Parkinson’s-related sleep issues. The following remedies may also correct sleep issues experienced by seniors with PD:

  • Maintaining or reestablishing a regular sleep schedule
    • Increasing daytime activities (to encourage more productive REM sleep)
    • Taking a sedative (with doctor approval) before going to sleep

It’s estimated that sleep disorders are common in anywhere from 60 to 90 percent of all people with Parkinson’s. When combined with underlying motor symptoms, changes in sleep patterns can make the disease appear to be more advanced than it really is. As a caregiver, observing and reporting any changes in sleep habits may lead to treatments likely to restore the essential REM sleep process.

Aging in place can present a few unique challenges for older adults. Some only require part-time assistance with exercise or meal preparation, while others are living with serious illnesses and benefit more significantly from receiving live-in care. Edmonton, Alberta, Home Care Assistance are leaders in the elderly in-home care industry for good reason. We tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual needs, our caregivers continue to receive updated training in senior care as new developments arise, and we also offer comprehensive care for seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s. Reach out to one of our Care Managers today at (780) 490-7337 to schedule a free in-home consultation.


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