Sep 25, 2017 by Mark Holte
Are you providing care for a senior loved one with Alzheimer’s? In honor of World Alzheimer’s Awareness Month this September, Comfort Keepers of Pittsburgh, PA is happy to bring you some tips on dealing with one of the most common problems associated with this disease.
Sundown syndrome, also known as sundowning, is a symptom of Alzheimer’s that occurs in the middle stages of the disease. Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia are degenerative diseases. As a memory illness progresses and your senior loved one's memory begins to diminish, the typical symptoms they present can often change. The sleep disruption, confusion, and behavioral changes that come with sundowning can be overwhelming for family caregivers. Professional home care for seniors can give family caregivers the extra support and time off that they need to be able to better address the challenges of caring for a loved one. Below are some tips for coping with sundown syndrome and other Alzheimer’s symptoms:
Sundown syndrome, or sundowning, received its name because it’s symptoms typically occur in the late afternoon or evening. Alzheimer’s symptoms such as confusion are exacerbated by the end-of-day physical and mental exhaustion. According to the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregiver Center, as many as 20% of seniors with Alzheimer’s will experience increased anxiety, confusion, and agitation late in the day. Being able to recognize sundowning and other Alzheimer’s symptoms is the first step in providing proper dementia care.
Poor lighting and shadows often increase confusion and anxiety with seniors experiencing sundowning. Keep the home well-lit in the evenings to help your loved one recognize their surroundings and that they are safe. Since exhaustion contributes to Alzheimer’s symptoms, make a comfortable and safe sleep environment. Sticking to a sleep schedule and avoiding mental stimulants like caffeine, sugar, or watching television before bed are also helpful.
Even when you are able to identify Alzheimer’s symptoms and the negative effects of things like sundowning, there may come a time where professional home care for seniors becomes necessary. In home caregivers and senior living facilities specially trained in memory care may be better suited to care for your loved one. What is most important to know when coping with memory illnesses is that you are never alone.
To learn more about home care for seniors with Alzheimer’s contact us or call (412) 228-0075 to schedule a free home visit. Our care coordinators will work with you and your senior loved one to develop a personalized care plan.