Sundowning and Dementia: How to Deal with Later-in-the-Day Behaviors
Sundowning is a symptom of dementia that makes it hard for the sufferer to perform evening activities or sleep. Although researchers have not determined how sleep patterns and memory loss interact, people who have dementia experience more pronounced symptoms and challenges later in the day and into the night. Sundowning can be an additional stress to seniors and the people who care for them.
What is Sundowning?
People who experience sundowning have increased feelings of anxiety or confusion later in the day. And because it can cause the sufferer not to have enough sleep, the memory loss can get worse. There are a lot of theories on why the symptoms of dementia tend to heighten in this time of the day. Some scientists say that it could be caused by the exhaustion that resulted from the mental and physical activities of the day. Also, changes in lighting can result in difficulty or stress.
Minimizing Side Effects
Treating sundowning fully may not be possible because the cause is not entirely clear. And family caregivers must take a proactive approach to decrease the negative effects of sundowning. Here are some helpful suggestions:
- Ensure consistency in schedules. People who have memory loss need a consistent schedule because any distraction or changes to their routine can confuse or distress them.
- Plan active days. Limiting daytime napping and encouraging exercise allow the sufferer to rest at night. Consider scheduling appointments and activities in the morning or afternoon to reduce the chances of resting all day.
- Prepare activities that won’t exhaust the sufferer. Simple and calm activities must be given to the sufferer as the day is about to end. Overstimulation can only make the restlessness or confusion worse.
- Limit Triggers. At night, eliminate the factors which trigger the sundowning behaviors of your loved one such as having visitors, watching TV, loud noises and doing chores.
Dealing with the Effects of Sundowning on Caregivers
As a caregiver to a loved one with dementia, prepare yourself for the fatigue that can hit you later in the day. As the day advances, caregivers are also likely to experience the strains and stresses of caregiving. A great approach is to communicate meaningfully with your loved one with dementia so you can enter his/her world with empathy.
In order to effectively offer care for a loved one with dementia, don’t forget to care for yourself first. Concentrate on your own needs, get support and respite as well as care for your own health. Comfort Care Home Health Care in Stony Island Chicago, Illinois is a great option to relieve you when you need time for yourself. You can continue to give care for your loved one if you sustain your wellbeing.
For more tips on how to deal with your loved one’s sundowning behaviors, please call
Comfort Care Home Health Care at 773-221-4400 today!
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