Elderly Not Eating and Sleeping All the Time [What It Means]

We always want to keep our old people healthy. Thus, it is best to know what it means when the elderly are not eating and are sleeping all the time.

Who wants a good sleep time every night?

Of course, all of us need to sleep as long as possible. This is to regain the energy we spent for the whole day. Some even sacrifice eating just to have a long time sleeping.

But, these acts also have specific EFFECTS on our bodies, especially for older adults.

What does it mean when an elderly is not eating and is sleeping all the time?

We will answer that question and other relevant inquiries in this article. 

What Does It Mean When You Sleep More and Eat Less?

Do you know that sleeping also has connections to our hunger feelings?

People of all ages need an average of 7-9 hours of sound sleep.

If you sleep more than this time range, it is natural to feel LESSER about the need to eat food.

Why? Research explains a significant connection between consuming food habits or Ghrelin levels and sleep patterns.

Ghrelin is the hunger hormone in the person’s body. It signals the brain to make you have the appetite for MORE food intake.

The more you sleep, the lesser your Ghrelin level is. Conversely, the lesser you sleep, the more hunger hormone is produced by your body. 

What Does It Mean When an Elderly Person Sleeps All Day?

Elderly Person Sleeps All Day

Several reasons can be concluded why older people sleep MORE in a day.

A few of these are medical problems, the lack of physical activity to stimulate motivation to move, and developing dementia. 

Medical Conditions

Having a few health problems is expected in the elderly’s life.

Among their common pain causes are high blood pressure and liver disease. Allergies and kidney disease are also part of this list.

Thus, different health conditions also call for various medications. Together with these medicines are side effects like dizziness and sleepiness.

As a result, they may have a hard time controlling their sleeping problems even in broad daylight.


Normal aging also calls for lesser and more specific activities. As a result, less energy can also be consumed daily.

From being a social worker to just staying at home almost every day.

From business in office work to being focused on chess matches or knitting activities.

There are several risk factors in moving too much at this stage in life. Thus, according to their varying health conditions, average to minimal movements are advised.

But, consistent daily low activity count decreases the motivation of elders. The same is true with the possibility of being excited about what comes when they wake up the next day.

This results in why your parents or grandparents commonly feel tired. Others mostly sleep all day because they don’t have any motivating tasks.


Dementia and other memory loss diseases are also common among old adults.

These health problems contribute to their sleep problems, especially when it has COMPLETELY developed into its final stage.

Thus, they have difficulty assessing the correct sleeping schedules. The lack of rest during the night causes low energy levels during day time.

As a result, excessive sleeping happens even after the time the sun just rises.

A piece of medical advice is to prepare daily engaging activities.

Another good action is guiding the elderly with the proper sleeping schedule. Another one is prioritizing memory care among old adults.

Why Would an Elderly Person Not Eat?

Elderly people’s food capacity DECLINES over time.

This can also be contributed by throat infections, dizziness, and other complications in the body.

A few of the reasons are loss of appetite, also known as anorexia, and a slower metabolism.

What are some of the other factors? They are:

  • Mouth discomforts due to denture issues
  • Smell and taste problems
  • Developing depression
  • Side effects from medications
  • Cancer diseases

As a result, you can observe weight loss due to fewer calories and food intake.

There can be many more reasons why these elderly eating problems come about.

While you can try assessing the issue yourself, we advise you to visit a doctor for an informed opinion on why it’s happening and how it can be treated. 

What Is the Life Expectancy of Elderly Who Stop Eating?

Death is the easiest and most normal conclusion when a person stops taking in food.

A range of 43 to 70 days is the time frame humans can keep living without food.

However, this is different from the case of elderlies who have already stopped eating.

It only takes a FEW DAYS for elderly people to sustain themselves if they start refusing to eat. This is actually a normal part of quite a few end-of-life symptoms.

A few among the others are sleeping for an extended period of time.

You can also add wanting to stay in bed, seeing fewer people, anxiety, hallucinations, and continuous dropping of vital signs. 

How Do You Know When an Elderly Person Is Giving Up?

Death is unavoidable for us human beings. But, symptoms can help assess an elder’s mortality.

This can also help family members and even nursing homes with treatment or activities to help them extend their lives.

These signs have differences within a week, a few days, and even a few hours before passing away.

It hits an UNIMAGINABLE amount of pain for loved ones to see these symptoms. But, these can also become aids in doing interventions.

Also, a big help to make the family prepare for the possible outcome. A few of these signs are already mentioned above. These are: 

1. Loss of Appetite

Everything SLOWLY declines when a person nears passing away.

Significant changes in appetite or food intake are one of the most visible of these difficulties.

You can observe slow or even drastic weight loss and dehydration. Thus, having a dry mouth can significantly be observed.

Using lip balm can do something to make those lips shiny again, but addressing appetite loss at its root cause is still the best option. 

2. Serious Problem in Staying Awake

Dementia. Fatigue. Lack of motivation to move.

These are just a few reasons why an elderly person decreases the will to keep their life.

As a result, they prefer to spend more time sleeping than staying awake if they are already approaching death. 

3. Wanting to Be Away From People

It is common to talk about FLASHBACKS from the past when your time is near its ending.

Thus, you can also observe this from your parents or grandparents, who are already giving up on life.

Having no motivation to talk with people and wanting to be only with the closest persons in their lives can be observed here. 

4. Having Anxiety

Feeling sorry for their wrong actions in the past is not new in this stage of an elderly’s life.

They might also worry about the family members they will leave behind.

Some even give final messages and advice to their children and grandchildren.

If you have observed this sign is already happening, it is BEST to spend their last time together as a family. 

5. Giving of Final Messages

It is common for families to have disputes.

This happens commonly for properties that are NOT properly settled yet.

If your mother or father is already calling for everyone’s attention, you must hurry and gather as soon as possible.

Saving their last breath to heal the household’s bond can be their last action before peacefully passing away.

Surely, you also would want to send your parents to the other life without any worries. 

6. Decrease in Sensory Functions

Loss of smell, taste, hearing, and even feeling through touch are some of the final signs before death.

The decrease in control over body parts is in accordance with a specific health problem.

The same is true for different disease complications that may cause their passing.

It is wrong to conclude that a decrease in sensory functions alone guarantees an elderly is giving up.

Thus, it is best to seek medical advice to be sure in this matter. 

7. A Decline in Vital Signs

Declining vital signs means the body is struggling to keep up with the need to stay alive.

A doctor can still find ways to reverse these signs to save your elderly person.

However, this is commonly the FINAL reminder before an elderly accomplishes their will to give up. 

What Do You Do When an Elderly Person Refuses to Eat?

Elderly Person Refuses to Eat

Asking for medical advice from a doctor is the BEST option to improve the appetite of an elderly that feels tired of eating.

Through this, a doctor can advise treatment for a high probability of continuous food intake.

For example, feeding your elder person ice chips to lessen sore throats may decrease eating behaviors.

However, there are home alternatives family members can do to develop positive effects of an elderly’s eating habits. 

Encourage Regular Exercise

The more an elderly person moves, the more energy they use to accomplish regular exercise.

Thus, older adults will take in more food, improving their appetite to get back the energy burned.

If this continues for a more extended time, the same person will have no choice but to eat REGULARLY to alleviate hunger feelings. 

Create a Meal Plan

There is no other way to improve the eating habits of the elderly than studying and creating the exact meal plan.

This can be in the form of an eating schedule with the EXACT food nutrients your old man or woman needs.

Not knowing the good and bad food for elderly people might affect your loved one’s life.

This can increase the chance of rising blood pressure, trigger types of cancer, or develop other diseases.

The schedule can be divided into more eating instances than the regular consistency of three times a day.

Another option is knowing and giving them their favorite delicacies. This may encourage them to develop better-eating behaviors.

Having something always ready to be eaten on the table can entice elderly people. 

Add Engaging Strategies to Meal Times

Eating together is the most MOTIVATING and ENGAGING strategy for people’s good eating practices.

Seeing other people enjoying their food also affects an elderly’s appetite.

Other than that, you can add music or watch a movie show that captures the interest of your older person.

This may encourage them to stay at the table to eat for a longer time.

You can also experiment with fun utensils on the dining table — different sizes, shapes, designs, colors, and the like.

Overall, you can invent any creative strategy that best fits your parent’s or grandparent’s character, likes, and attitude toward eating. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

We have already gone through many of the health effects of too much sleeping and decreased eating practices of elderlies.

We have more information below should you have more questions that are relevant to the said topic:

Does Dementia Affect Sleep?

Dementia, if NOT treated with proper medications, can progress into a higher stage.

The more developed your elderly’s dementia is, the longer sleep they will probably have in bed daily.

Other than this, dementia, Parkinson’s Disease, and Lewy body disease can also affect their sleep.

Overall, dementia and similar diseases affect sleep. This is because it causes difficulty in distinguishing night from day.

As a result, a healthy and correct sleeping schedule is being disrupted.

However, since these are already life diseases, it is still the best action to ask a doctor for an assessment on the direct cause affecting your elderly’s sleep. 

Does Quality of Sleep Matter for Older Adults With Dementia?

Long sleep does not always equate to quality sleep.

In other words, dementia might cause longer restings times than ordinary people without the disease.

However, it does guarantee an uncut sleep for 60-90 minutes, reaching the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage.

All people, regardless of age, need a good quality of rest. Thus, quality sleep is still vital for older adults with dementia. 

When Should an Elderly See a Doctor for Fatigue?

When it comes to a person’s health, a doctor’s advice is always the best.

A younger person with a healthier body can handle feeling tired for some weeks before going to the hospital.

However, at the very start of an elderly’s fatigue, you should already send them to a doctor.

Through this, an accurate assessment can be done for the needed attention to be given immediately.

They will be asked about their sleeping patterns, regular appetite, and even daily physical activities.

Disease control can be done via medications and essential treatment activities. 


Healthy sleep and eating are essential for humans to stay alive.

This is true to whatever age range you belong to, especially among elderly people.

Neglecting these facts is detrimental. Seeing people unable to provide for these needs for their bodies can end up in the worst case — death.

While passing away is expected as every person’s finish line. There are still ways to extend a person’s life and avoid the pain of being left by a loved one.

Knowing the meaning of why an elderly is not eating and sleeping all the time is already a big step.

Understanding the actions needed to address these challenges is a big part of saving an older person’s life.