People with dementia tend to experience aggravated behavioral changes generally towards the latter half of the day. Due to the nature of the symptoms, they tend to get misconstrued with dementia; however, researchers call this phenomenon sundowning or late-day confusion.
Usually occurring in mid and later stages of dementia, sundowning is a group of symptoms that affect 20% of people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. It causes a wide range of behaviors such as restlessness, confusion, anxiety, aggression, and many others in the late afternoon.
Tips to Manage Sundowning
Seeking assistance from home caregivers for your loved one is one way to deal with sundowning. However, sundowning can be stressful for caregivers too. This is why managing its symptoms is important. These tips can help you minimize sundowning in your loved one:
- Try maintaining a predictable routine for meals, bedtime, waking, and activities.
- Look for triggers that cause sundowning such as noise, crowded environment, and many others.
- Avoid or limit day-time nap to encourage nighttime sleep.
- Limit sugar and caffeine to morning hours.
- Keep your home well-lit to reduce agitation or confusion in your family member.
- In the evening, try reducing background noise and other distractions to keep your loved one’s symptoms at bay.
- Create a more relaxed and familiar setting in your home .
- Play relaxing sounds of nature such as the sound of birds chirping or waves in the evening.
- Take help from home caregivers for your loved one.
Some studies also reveal that a small dosage of melatonin – a naturally occurring hormone that promotes sleep- may help cope with sundowning. Also, exposure to light during the daytime can keep confusion and other symptoms at bay. To help your family member meet their care needs, you can have 24-hour home care as well.
Dealing with people who experience sundowning can be difficult. If you observe symptoms of sundowning in your loved one, consult a medical professional and look for ways to minimize it.
If you are looking for home caregivers for your loved ones, we can help your family member cope with sundowning while staying in the comfort of your home. We are committed to providing you with the best, most experienced, compassionate caregivers because we understand the enormous trust and confidence you place in us.