While winter gives us the warmth of the holiday season, it can be tough for your loved one with Alzheimer’s and dementia. The days are shorter, which means there’s less natural light and the sun sets a few hours earlier. As a result, sundown syndrome is more common this time of year.
If your loved one has Alzheimer’s or dementia, chances are you’ve experienced some of the mood and behavioral changes that are part of the disease. Sundown syndrome falls under that category. You want to help your loved one, but you want more information before jumping in.
Alzheimer’s and dementia can be tough for caregivers, and sundown syndrome can add an extra challenge. But you’re not alone. In this post we’re going to explain what sundown syndrome is, common symptoms and how you can help your loved one manage the condition.
It’s important to note that sundown syndrome is not a disease. It’s more like a group of symptoms that occur at a certain time of day. As the sun sets, people with Alzheimer’s or dementia can become more confused and irritated.
Think of sundown syndrome as a higher state of confusion that amplifies some of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s or dementia. Sundown syndrome often comes with periods of increased anxiety, sadness, frustration and even hallucinations.
Sundown syndrome is different for everyone, so it’s important to understand your loved one’s routines and mood. Not sure if your loved one suffers from sundown syndrome? Keep reading to learn more about the symptoms you can expect.
If you’re loved one is going through sundown syndrome, you’ll want to watch their behavior. When they are “sundowning”, are they following you around? Are they asking you the same questions over and over again? Do they lose their ability to communicate and have difficulty understanding their thoughts?
These behaviors are some of the classic signs of sundown syndrome. As a caregiver, you should also be on the lookout for your loved one trying to “escape” or leave their home. Many of the symptoms of sundown syndrome are behavioral based. As a caregiver, it can help to record your loved one’s behavior during this period, so you know how to best assist them.
Some of the other common symptoms of sundown syndrome include:
The symptoms of sundown syndrome usually start in the late afternoon and can go through the night. What can make sundown syndrome tough is that it can cause you and your loved one to get less sleep. While inconvenient, lack of sleep can cause the symptoms above to get worse. That’s why it’s important to know how to help soothe the symptoms so you don’t get caught up in a cycle.
If you’re a caregiver of someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia, you know that patience can go a long way. It’s important to try and practice patience when using the following techniques while managing sundown syndrome.
At Symphony Senior Living, our memory care program takes a person-centered approach. Care and activities are shaped around individual needs. We’re proud to offer memory support whenever you need it.
Contact our friendly team today for more information about our memory care programs. Or if you just need a break, don’t forget to ask about our short-term stay options. Together we can help you loved one stop appreciate more moments.