Coping with Sundown Syndrome in Deerfield Beach, FL
Does your senior loved one suffer from Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia? Does their behavior change towards the end of the day?
Dementia is a group of symptoms and diseases (like Alzheimer’s) that cause memory to fade and mental ability to decline so severely that it can interfere with daily life. Often, in the middle stages of Alzheimer’s, symptoms worsen in late afternoon or early evening due to physical and mental exhaustion. This is called “Sundown Syndrome” or “sundowning”. Sundowning brings challenges to family caregivers and seniors alike, such as sleep disruption, confusion and behavioral changes.
Follow the steps below to help your family cope with sundowning:
Limit sundowning triggers
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are a few triggers that can contribute to sundowning and sleep disturbances. These triggers include reduced lighting and the appearance of shadows in the afternoon, which causes people with Alzheimer’s to misinterpret what they see and become afraid. Sometimes, family caregivers subconsciously show cues of their own frustration or exhaustion, which Alzheimer’s patients react to. Often, seniors with Alzheimer’s also have trouble separating dreams from reality and have disturbances with their internal clock, so they end up mixing up night and day.
Recognize the signs
As we can tell from the name, sundown syndrome often occurs in Alzheimer’s patients towards the end of the day. Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease are exacerbated in later afternoon or evening due to physical and mental exhaustion. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, as many as twenty percent of Alzheimer’s patients experience increased confusion and agitation later in the day.
Aside from anxiety and agitation, some signs of sundowning syndrome are fear, hallucinations, mood swings, aggressive behavior, pacing, wandering, and disorientation.
Create a calming environment
In order to reduce the risk or symptoms of sundowning, there are a few measures you can take around your loved one’s home. These include:
- Maintain a schedule
- Keep the home well lit, especially in the evening
- Stick to a schedule
- Avoid stimulants, like alcohol or coffee
- Plan active days to encourage a good night’s sleep
- Be mindful of signs of your own exhaustion, and seek respite care when you need it
Know when to look for help
Comfort Keepers Home Care in Deerfield Beach, FL is here for you. Our caregivers are trained to provide compassionate and loving care to those seniors suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia, and can give your family peace of mind. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.