For many of us, early evenings are a very pleasant time. We’re home from work and enjoying a quieter pace or perhaps taking in a school activity with the kids. However, for many elderly people who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia in Rochester, MN, late afternoons and early evenings are a time of tremendous confusion. This is known as Sundowners Syndrome.
Sundowners Syndrome isn’t a disease, but rather a group of symptoms that may affect people. In addition to confusion, these symptoms may include anxiety, aggression or ignoring direction, memory loss, agitation, loneliness, anger, and wandering. Factors that aggravate late-day confusion and increase the chances of your loved one sundowning may include fatigue, low lighting, increased shadows, disruption of the body’s “internal clock,” difficulty separating reality from dreams, and too much end-of-day activity, according to the Mayo Clinic.
For family members who care for those with dementia, witnessing an increase in their loved one’s symptoms of disorientation at sunset can be troubling, painful, frightening, and exhausting. Utilizing the skills and compassion of Comfort Health’s highly skilled home health aides can help you deal with a loved one who suffers from Sundowners Syndrome. We’ll work with you to develop a care plan and schedule to lighten the burden you’re carrying.
Here are some additional helpful strategies for reducing sundowning:
- Play familiar, gentle music in the evening or relaxing sounds of nature, such as the sound of waves.
- Limit daytime napping.
- Limit caffeine and sugar to morning hours.
- In the evening, try to reduce background noise and stimulating activities, including television watching, which can sometimes be upsetting.
- Plan for activities and exposure to light during the day to encourage nighttime sleepiness.
- Try to maintain a predictable routine for bedtime, waking, meals, and activities.
- Keep a night light on to reduce the agitation that occurs when surroundings are dark or unfamiliar.
Whether you live in your own home or an assisted-living facility, call Comfort Health at 800-204-2332 for the very best in home health care, skilled nursing, and therapy in Rochester, MN and the surrounding area. Our well-trained and caring staff members are standing by to help you and your loved one.