The change in the clocks has extra significance for people with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. While most people’s activity levels wind down as the light fades, people with Alzheimer’s can become more active — and more anxious. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, this behavior, known as Sundowner’s Syndrome, affects approximately 20% of people with Alzheimer’s.
Sundowner’s Syndrome, which is most common in the middle stages of Alzheimer’s, tends to begin late in the day, as the sky begins to darken, and can last till morning. The symptoms can include mood swings, anxiety, restlessness, increased confusion, hallucinations, disorientation, distress that includes crying and screaming, anger, and even violence.
But Sundowner’s Syndrome can be managed. Try these 5 tips to minimize its effects on your loved one with Alzheimer’s:
1. Try to be home before late afternoon
Being home, or in any familiar environment, can help you control triggers for Sundowner’s.
2. Add light
Since the darkening day is stressful for a person with Sundowner’s, draw the curtains and turn on the lights. Having nightlights on through the night will also help a person with Alzheimer’s orient themselves if they wake up at night.
3. Keep it calm
Initiate a relaxing routine for the evenings, including soft music and quiet activities.
4. Maintain good sleep hygiene
Everyone, and especially people with Sundowner’s Syndrome, should avoid caffeine and sugar late in the day, and limit afternoon naps. This will encourage sleepiness at night.
5. Pay attention
As always when helping people with Alzheimer’s disease, take note of what causes them stress. By noting specific triggers for anxiety, such as a visit with unfamiliar people or going to an unfamiliar place, you can know how to personalize your loved one’s evening activities.
At Hamilton Grove Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, in Hamilton, NJ, we specialize in the medical, social, and recreational needs of people with Alzheimer’s and other cognitive disorders. Our Alzheimer’s Unit is located in a separate, secure wing in order to ensure the safety and well-being of our residents. The unit has a bright, cheerful solarium that opens onto a beautifully landscaped, enclosed courtyard, allowing residents to enjoy the sun, the fresh air, and the beautiful outdoor scenery.
The caregivers in the Alzheimer’s unit receives special training and caring for people with cognitive impairments, and are able to treat them with the sensitivity, dignity, and love they deserve.
Our programs help patients maximize their cognitive function and enhance their enjoyment of life. The activities promote social interaction and patient independence in a soothing, safe atmosphere. Those in advanced stages of Alzheimer’s benefit from our innovative sensory therapies. And of course, we assure proper hydration and food intake with delicious, nutritious meals.
Our goal is to provide our residents with the best possible care, and their family members with peace of mind.
Or better yet, come see for yourself: Contact us to schedule a tour by calling 609-588-5800 or by clicking here.