What Causes Fatigue in Seniors?

Posted on June 1, 2023

Fatigue is a common concern for many older adults. In fact, the National Institutes of Health report that “fatigue is a symptom experienced by 40-74% of older individuals in the United States.” It can be caused by a variety of factors, both physical and emotional, and can significantly affect an individual’s overall health and well-being.

With senior living communities throughout Tennessee, The Pavilion Senior Living is committed to enhancing the quality of life of residents, and we have experience helping individuals live engaging, purposeful lives. Our team is sharing what commonly causes fatigue in seniors to help you or someone you love lead a more active lifestyle.

Chronic Illnesses

One of the primary causes of fatigue in older adults is chronic illnesses. Because our risk of developing a chronic condition increases with age, many older adults live with chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), among others.

These conditions can be exhausting, causing individuals to feel tired and run down all the time. They can also cause other symptoms like pain and shortness of breath, making it even more challenging to complete daily tasks.

Medications

It is common for aging individuals to take multiple medications, and some of these medications can cause fatigue as a side effect. For instance, blood pressure medications, antihistamines, and antidepressants can all cause fatigue.

Additionally, if you or a loved one has been taking a medication for an extended period of time and are just now experiencing fatigue, this could be due to changes in your body’s ability to metabolize the medication and rid it from your body.

If you or someone you love is experiencing severe fatigue due to one or more medications, speak with a healthcare provider to see if any changes can be made to the medication regimen.

Sleep Disorders

Sleep disorders such as sleep apnea and insomnia are common in seniors and can cause fatigue during the day. Sleep apnea is when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep, leading to poor sleep quality and daytime sleepiness.

Insomnia, on the other hand, is a condition where a person has difficulty falling or staying asleep, leading to fatigue and other symptoms during the day.

Nutritional Deficiencies

Older adults are at an increased risk of nutritional deficiencies, particularly if they are not eating a well-balanced diet. Nutritional deficiencies like iron, vitamin D, and B12 can all cause fatigue.

Ensuring that you or your loved one is eating a well-balanced diet and taking any necessary supplements can help prevent nutritional deficiencies and the resulting fatigue. (Note: You should speak with a doctor before adding any supplements to your diet.)

Dehydration

Dehydration is another common cause of fatigue in older adults. Many seniors do not drink enough fluids throughout the day due to natural changes in the body that decrease the feeling of thirst. This – in combination with the body not being able to retain as much water (another natural change due to aging) – can lead to dehydration and fatigue.

Dehydration can also cause other symptoms like dizziness, confusion, and headaches, making it crucial to drink plenty of water and fluids throughout the day.

Depression

Depression can also cause fatigue as well as symptoms like loss of interest and difficulty sleeping. If you or someone you love is experiencing symptoms of depression, it is essential to speak with a healthcare provider to get a proper diagnosis and treatment.

Stress

Chronic stress can be exhausting, leading to fatigue and other symptoms like anxiety and irritability. Finding ways to manage stress, like exercise, meditation, or talking with a therapist, can help prevent fatigue and other stress-related symptoms.


Many older adults experience daily fatigue, which can significantly impact quality of life. A variety of factors can cause it, so if you or someone you love is experiencing fatigue, speak with a healthcare provider to determine the underlying cause and develop a plan to address it. With the proper diagnosis and treatment, individuals can regain energy and improve their health and well-being.

We can also help at The Pavilion Senior Living. With supportive care and convenient lifestyle options, we offer individuals the opportunity to lead an engaging, maintenance-free lifestyle. We invite you to explore our website or contact our team to learn more about our senior living communities in Tennessee.

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