If you care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia, you may have noticed that your family member tends to become more confused and agitated in the evening. This is a common phenomenon known as sundowning. Seniors who experience sundowning may become more confused, forgetful, and agitated than usual and may even act angry in the evening hours.
What Causes Sundowning?
Sundowning can have several causes. In many families, there is a lot of activity in the evening. If your loved one lives with you, he or she may be overwhelmed by watching the nightly ritual of cooking dinner, eating, cleaning up, and getting young children ready for bed. All of that activity can be overwhelming to someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Your loved one may be tired from a day filled with activities. Diminished natural light can cause confusion for someone who suffers from vision problems. Some researchers believe sundowning may also be associated with hormone imbalances, disruptions in the circadian rhythm, or seasonal affective disorder.
How a Caregiver Can Help Seniors Deal with Sundowning
If your loved one experiences greater confusion and agitation in the evening, it could be caused by sundowning. A caregiver from Dependable Care can help.
One way to ease the symptoms of sundowning is to establish a consistent evening routine. This can include a quiet dinner and then a peaceful evening at home. Important activities can be scheduled for earlier in the day so your loved one can relax in the evening.
Diet can also affect your loved one’s mental state. Eating foods containing a lot of sugar or drinking caffeinated beverages late in the day sometimes contributes to sundowning. A caregiver can make sure your family member eats nutritious meals in the evening.
The lower light in the evening causes shadows that can affect your loved one’s vision. A caregiver can make sure rooms are well-lit and help your family member if he or she needs assistance getting around the house at night.
Sometimes medication can help with the symptoms of sundowning. You may want to talk to your loved one’s doctor about changing his or her medication. A caregiver can make sure your family member takes medication as prescribed.
Find the Right Caregiver to Help Your Loved One with Sundowning
Dependable Care has a team of compassionate caregivers who are trained in how to help seniors cope with Alzheimer’s and dementia. We have provided assistance to seniors and their families all over Connecticut. If your loved one has Alzheimer’s or dementia and you are concerned about sundowning, a caregiver from Dependable Care can help establish a calming evening routine to put your family member at ease. Contact Dependable Care today to find a caregiver for your loved one.