How to Alleviate Symptoms of Sundowning

How to Alleviate Symptoms of Sundowning

How to Alleviate Symptoms of Sundowning

Sundowning is a condition when someone who has Alzheimer’s becomes increasingly aggravated, agitated, and/or restless during the time when the sun goes down. Even though doctors are not sure why this happens, some speculate that dementia negatively impacts your body’s natural sleep cycle which could result in sundowning. Your loved one may also be more likely to experience symptoms if they are tired, hungry, thirsty, depressed, or in pain.[1]

Some methods exist to help your partner avoid the symptoms of sundowning:

  • Set a routine: Many people feel safer when their days are structured and planned. This can especially help your loved one with dementia. Being in familiar surroundings and keeping a consistent schedule can help reduce confusion and anxiety.
  • Stay away from substances that disturb sleep: Coffee and alcoholic beverages can potentially disrupt your sleep if consumed too late or in high amounts. Anybody who lacks sleep will generally not feel good, the case is still the same for those with dementia. As a family caregiver, try your hardest to help your loved one preserve a normal sleeping schedule
  • Help your loved one feel comfortable during the evenings: Be aware of your loved one’s surrounding environment, such as the indoor climate and noise levels. Know, too, that dim lighting can cause your loved one to react to strange shadows and unfamiliar objects negatively. It might be in your best interest to keep rooms well-lit and to keep your loved one in familiar surroundings so they do not become confused, scared, or angry.
  • Exercise: Light physical activity can help with feelings of tiredness, agitation, and restlessness. Exercising releases chemicals in the brain that help alleviate stress and make you happy. Try taking your loved one on short walks, encouraging them to stretch, or practicing a very low-impact physical activity. You should always consult with a physician before starting a new exercise regimen and to get some ideas on how you can help your loved one.

If you have more questions, please call ElderCare at Home at 888-285-0093 or visit our website.

[1] Source: http://www.webmd.com/alzheimers/guide/manage-sundowning#1

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