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Issue Date: July 01, 2015
Published Online: February 09, 2016
Updated: January 01, 2020
Understanding Sleep Patterns Among Older Adults in a Subsidized Housing Facility: A Pilot Study
Author Affiliations
  • San Jose State University
  • San Jose State University
  • San Jose State University
  • San Jose State University
Article Information
Geriatrics/Productive Aging / Health Services Research and Education
Poster Session   |   July 01, 2015
Understanding Sleep Patterns Among Older Adults in a Subsidized Housing Facility: A Pilot Study
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July 2015, Vol. 69, 6911510143. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2015.69S1-PO5084
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July 2015, Vol. 69, 6911510143. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2015.69S1-PO5084
Abstract

Date Presented 4/17/2015

We conducted this study to explore the feasibility of a mindfulness program at a multiethnic community among older adults living in a subsidizing facility. Results show that some adults may need to seek medical advice and that sleep difficulties had affected older adults’ physical functioning and social life.

PURPOSE: Sleep plays a vital role in physical, cognitive, and emotional functioning as well as in occupational performance; poor sleep in older adults results in increased risk of falls and mortality, decreased performance, slowed response time, and difficulty with memory. The purpose of this study is to investigate the quality of sleep in older adults living in a subsidized housing facility and to explore the feasibility of an occupation-based, mindfulness program at a multiethnic community. We used two 90-min, on-site educational sessions that were intended to help residents understand sleep patterns, identify behavioral and environmental challenges, and practice two mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) techniques (mindful breathing and progressive muscle relaxation) for better sleep.
METHOD: Recruitment was via posting flyers and announcements at the community forums. To accommodate different language preferences—which include Chinese, Farsi, English, and Russian—each educational session was held twice, and interpreters were arranged to translate presentations and activities simultaneously. A total of 29 older adults aged more than 65 yr (M = 80.0 ± 6.0 yr) participated; however, only 9 participants attended both sessions. Sleep quality was measured using the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) and the Sleep Survey. Descriptive statistics were used to describe sleep patterns of all the participants, and paired t tests were applied to examine the differences between the first and the second sessions.
RESULTS: Results show that 89.0% of the participants slept less than the recommended 7 to 9 hr, 56.0% of them take sleep medication regularly, and the majority of them (96.0%) woke up in the middle of the night. Although the average ESS score for all participants was at a typical range, 21% of participants had scores greater than 9, indicating a possible sleep problem, which may indicate the need to seek further evaluation and medical advice. In addition, the majority of the participants reported that their sleep difficulties had affected their physical functioning (53.8%) and social life (39%) three or more times per week. Sleep difficulties appeared to have a great impact on both social and physical functioning, and these results further justify the need for intervention to improve quality of life in older adults. Participants expressed the desire to attend more sleep workshops and acknowledged the usefulness of practicing MBSR and applying learned strategies in daily activities. Future research examining these issues is needed in a larger sample size.