Before we go to sleep on Saturday, March 12 we need to remember to set our clocks ahead by one hour. Daylight saving time, also known as “springing forward” happens on March 13 in Michigan. Turning our clocks ahead may not seem like a big deal, but to our body’s natural rhythms it is. There are many ways that daylight saving time impacts older adults and American House Senior Living Community wants to share ways to make it less of an impact.

Time changes, whether forward or backward, can have a negative impact on the health of older adults. This may be especially true for those suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

American House Senior Living Community in Michigan explains three of the ways in which we know our residents may be impacted by the upcoming time change.  

  1. Sleep struggles. Interruption or disruption of routine sleeping patterns is a major issue that impacts almost everyone when the time changes, especially senior citizens. “Losing” an hour of sleep skews your body’s circadian rhythm. That change can affect sleep in the days that follow the time change. Springing ahead could lead to a loss of mental acuity and the feeling of grogginess for a few days following the change.
  2. Heart attacks spike by more than five percent after the time change.  
  3. Studies show that car accidents spike in the Monday following the time change. It’s estimated that close to twenty percent more accidents occur the day after the time change.  

The Ways Daylight Saving Time Impacts Older Adults

What can you do to help yourself adjust to the new time change? The professionals at American House Senior Living in Michigan have outlined five steps we will take to help our residents cope:

  1. Keeping regular routines is crucial Don’t change the time you go to bed or wake up.  
  2. Resist the urge to nap following the time change. If you didn’t nap before, don’t nap now because it will not allow your body to get accustomed to the new time.  
  3. Stay busy. Get outdoors or find a place to soak up some sun. Spending time in sun will help your circadian rhythms “catch up” to the time change.
  4. Don’t change meal times. We won’t be adjusting the time we serve meals, either. It might be tempting to switch dinnertime to make up for that lost hour, but you should stick to your usual breakfast, lunch and dinner times.
  5. Don’t change the time you take your prescribed medications simply because the time has changed.

Even though you may lose an hour of sleep, we’re also getting closer to spring and summer! Here are a few ideas we’ve put together to help you embrace the time change and the start of a new season in Michigan.

  1. Clear out your closet. Get out your summer clothes in anticipation of the warmer weather. Don’t pack away all your winter clothes, you never know what Michigan weather will bring!  
  2. Plant some seeds. Flowers or even fruits and vegetables can be planted from seed and transplanted outdoors when the time is right.  
  3. Decorate for spring! Spring brings Easter and spring showers that will lead to May flowers! Participate in our arts and crafts events and welcome the new season!

Contact an American House community near you, take a tour and visit with our caring staff.

American House was founded in 1979 to enrich the lives of seniors and their loved ones in an environment that fosters independence, compassion, quality services and meaningful relationships. We provide a wide range of senior living options, including independent living, independent living with assistance, memory care services provided by a third party, respite stays and hospice in Dearborn Heights, Farmington Hills, Rochester Hills, Sterling Heights and Westland.