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Home Care Assistance Advice for Sundown Syndrome

May 31, 2023

The Alzheimer’s Association says up to 20% of people with Alzheimer’s have Sundown Syndrome. Understanding this condition and how to help seniors manage the changes is critical. Adding home care assistance also helps loved ones ensure seniors have what they need.

What Causes Sundown Syndrome?

Unfortunately, there are a lot of ideas about what causes sundowning, and it is different for everyone. It doesn’t help that evening might make seniors feel in danger or insecure. Other causes could be being tired, hungry, thirsty, in pain or discomfort, or going through biological changes as the sun goes down.

Sundown Syndrome Behaviors

For some seniors, behaviors associated with Sundown Syndrome come and go quickly, but for others, they may last for hours. Some seniors have even switched their sleep schedules to be wide awake all night and tired all day. ​The following list is things that may occur during sundowning.

  • Mood swings
  • ​Increased anxiety​
  • Sadness​
  • Restlessness
  • Energy spikes
  • ​Hallucinations​
  • Delusions

Loved ones might notice seniors pacing, rocking, yelling, crying, or feeling lost. Seniors with Sundown Syndrome often feel like they have to go somewhere or do something right away, but they don’t always know why. Being stopped from doing this causes them to act out.

Tips for Working Through Sundowning

There are several things that loved ones can do to help seniors with sundowning.

Observe and limit triggers: Watch for signs of tiredness and other things that cause sundowning. Even everyday tasks might be stressful for seniors. Home care assistance can help loved ones monitor patterns and decrease the chance of triggers.

Foods or drinks might also be triggers. Work with the home health team to reduce coffee and sugar, which can be too stimulating. Seniors might also need to limit liquids later in the day to decrease the need to use the bathroom.

Stick to Habits

Make sure seniors are busy early in the day and only nap a little, especially if they sleep well at night. Try not to do hard or stressful things at dusk or at night. Stick to a regular daily routine because there’s comfort in what they know

Have a Plan

When seniors are sundowning, trying and talking them down often doesn’t help. Instead, try to support their feelings. Additionally, encourage seniors to think about their favorite things, not what worries them.

Pay Attention to Light Levels

Some experts think light affects hormones and the circadian rhythm. When seniors don’t get the light they need, it can throw their rhythm off balance. Discuss this issue with home care assistance and determine if adding brighter lights or lamps that mimic the sun might help.

As darkness falls outside, home care assistance providers can turn on more lights inside. This is especially important when the days are shorter, and darkness comes earlier.

When helping seniors with Sundown Syndrome, loved ones need to be flexible, empathetic, and have good observation skills. Having home care assistance makes it easier to try different care methods. In many cases, what helps one time may only sometimes work the next time, so it is also essential to be creative. No matter what issues arise, building a supportive team for seniors is essential for them to succeed while aging in place.

If you or an aging loved-one is considering Home Care Assistance in East Hampton, CT, please contact the caring staff at Golden Touch Personal Care LLC today.  860-393-1055

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