Do you have a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s? Then you have probably noticed that the symptoms they are suffering from due to Alzheimer’s often intensifies during twilights and evenings. Symptoms like agitation, confusion and others starts to worsen even from the late afternoons. Exactly this is what is known as sundowning.

Sundowning is a very common phenomenon with seniors suffering from Alzheimer’s. It is a situation when the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, such as confusion, agitation, personality disorders, etc. intensify with the going down of the sun and it often becomes more difficult for the person suffering from it to calm down.

Behaviors related with sundowning can be both verbal and physical. Mostly it occurs suddenly with no apparently visible reasons. But the causes can be understood with a little bit of guided attention. Although such situations are difficult to cope with but knowing some related aspects and following some simple strategies and suggestions from Comfort Keepers Alzheimer’s Care Services will help. Read on to know more:

Risk Factors for Increased Sundowning

●     Mental and physical exhaustion that often accompanies the end of the day.
●     Due to reduced light during late afternoon shadows increase and this causes confusion for seniors with Alzheimer’s as they often find it difficult to interpret what they see.
●     Upset in the biological clock or the circadian rhythm. A mix-up in the internal body clock causes a biological confusion between day and night.
●     During these times of the day seniors with Alzheimer’s often feel disoriented because they often confuses reality with dream in their minds.
●     Sudden change in the daily routine.
●     Any sort of cues of frustration from the caregivers and the people around them.

Strategies and Suggestions for Coping with Sundowning

●     Follow the Same Routine
Changes in the daily routine is often seen to be the cause of frustration and anger for our loved seniors with Alzheimer’s. Any new place, food or activity may make them feel disoriented and cause confusion. Hence, it is likely to increase the possibility of sundowning. So, stick to the tried and tested proceedings for the days; and even if you have to change the routine make it roll out slowly with bits of small changes at a time.

●     Keep It Well Lighted
Light up all the bulbs during the late afternoons. Consider increasing the sources of light in your residence and rooms where our loved seniors are likely to be. It has been tested and proven that seniors kept in well lighted places exhibit much lesser effect of sundowning.

●     Stay Active in the Early Hours of the Day
Plan physically engaging activities for our loved seniors during the early hours of the day but avoid the same activities during later hours. Try to avoid daytime napping and too much resting during the day. This will help them to be calmer during the twilights and evenings as well as help them to sleep better at nights.

●     Keep It Comfortable and Familiar
Keep the surroundings around them comfortable for our loved seniors. Use adequate amount of pillows and blankets to comfort them; and keep all the familiar objects and the things they love near them. Place family photos where they will be most visible. Consider playing soothing music in the background.

●     Distressing Tasks
Avoid doing any tasks that may possibly make them agitated in any manner. Activities like reading books or watching TV may become difficult to follow at times and thus increase the agitation and confusion. Always plan soothing and destressing tasks to do with them during these later hours of the day.

●     Careful Eating
Avoid any kind of stimulants like alcohol, caffeine and heavy dinner during the later hours of the day. These things can increase sundowning quite easily. Our loved seniors can enjoy these foods and heavy meals during lunch and earlier but no later than that. Always let them have light snacks during evenings and light foods during dinner.

●     Identifying Triggers
Keep a close attention on the factors, events or situations that are causing our loved seniors with Alzheimer’s to become agitated or confused. Write them down. Keep a track of all these triggers and try to avoid them in future.

●     Care for the Caregivers
Taking care for the seniors suffering from Alzheimer’s or any other form of dementia is a very demanding job. It needs constant level of attention and high levels of energy and enthusiasm. So, continuous caring may very easily drain or exhaust caregivers. So, caring for the caregivers or caregivers being mindful of their own well-being is no less an important factor in this regard. Because seniors with Alzheimer’s are very sensitive and even a mild vibration of annoyance or irritation from the part of the caregiver will only worsen sundowning.

Alzheimer’s can be very much of an overwhelming a condition for the seniors as well as the families suffering from it. And sundowning can only make it worse. Hence, to help you with these situations Comfort Keeper have Alzheimer’s care services and respite care services that provide quality care for our loved seniors with dementia and their families. So, for any help and support contact Comfort Keepers San Mateo right away!