Sep 28, 2017 by Jorge Preciado
If your loved one suffers from Alzheimer's disease or another form of dementia, you may have heard of sundowning syndrome. Because it is World Alzheimer’s Awareness Month this September, we decided to put together a few important tips that can help you and your loved one cope with issues associated with the syndrome. It may be a good time to start thinking about the ways in which Alzheimer's care could be beneficial for your loved one as well.
Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia are degenerative diseases. This means that it is a memory illness that progresses over time and it is not curable. As a senior begins to lose their memory, their symptoms change over time.
Generally speaking, sundown syndrome, also known as sundowning, is displayed by seniors in the middle stages of the disease. It includes sleep disruption, confusion, and behavioral changes that are very disturbing for non-professional caregivers, particularly if they are family members or friends.
The following are tips gathered by our Alzheimer's care professionals for dealing with sundown syndrome and other Alzheimer’s symptoms:
Sundowning got its name because seniors start displaying symptoms in the late afternoon or evening. It is generally believed that common Alzheimer’s symptoms like confusion and aggression are made worse by physical and mental exhaustion that comes with the end of the day. Studies and research by the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregiver Center show that about 20 percent of older adults with Alzheimer’s or dementia experience sundowning.
Most often, seniors with Alzheimer's and dementia do not like poorly lit rooms because they increase their confusion and anxiety. It helps to keep the home well lit at night. At the same time, managing exhaustion is important as well because it amplifies symptoms, so it may be a good idea to see if your loved one can rest during the day. Maintaining a strict sleep schedule is important as is steering clear of caffeine, sugar, or television.
Most non-professional caregivers are able to care for seniors in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease or dementia. However, symptoms may soon become too much to handle for the average person. Look into Alzheimer's care before it becomes too much for you and your loved one.