Helping Patients with Sundowner’s Syndrome
Before we go into the detailed tips on helping patients with sundowner’s syndrome, let’s briefly talk on sundowning. Sundowning is usually refer to the state of confusion, which extends from late afternoon into the night. However, sundowning is responsible for behaviors like confusion, wandering, aggression, and anxiety in patients with dementia.
Sundowning is also a symptom of Alzheimer’s disease and any other form of dementia. It is sometimes called “late-day confusion.” If your loved one is suffering from dementia, their symptoms may get worse in late afternoon and evening. Helping patients with sundowner’s syndrome requires patience and commitment.
Oftentimes, your loved ones start to experience sundowning at the mid-stage or advance stage of dementia. Sundowning can make it hard for people with Alzheimer’s disease to sleep or stay in bed. However, there are several helpful tips that can help reduce these symptoms.
Major Causes of Sundowner’s Syndrome
The cause of sundowning is not well understood. Alzheimer’s disease is a brain-related disease, which affects the sleep-wake cycle. Other possible causes of sundowning includes:
However, in this post, I will list some tips on helping patients with sundowner’s syndrome.
14 Helpful Tips For Patients with Sundowner’s Syndrome
There are several tips in reducing the symptoms of sundowner’s syndrome. The main objective of these tips is to make life enjoyable for patients with dementia. These tips have considerable positive effects on helping patients with sundowner’s syndrome. The tips includes:
- Maintaining a steady routine for bedtime, mealtime, walkout, waking, and other activities.
- Exposing your loved ones to daylight — it encourages sound sleep at night.
- Set a limit to nap in daytime
- Stop giving caffeine or sugary drinks to your loved ones during the morning hour; it will make the symptoms get worse.
- Keep your light on at night, it helps reduce confusion and aggression. When the house or the surrounding is dark, patients with sundowner’s syndrome may find it hard to rest.
- Remove all the possible stressors from the area where you have sundowner’s syndrome patient. In the evening, try to reduce background noise and make the environment calm. You should even turn off your Radio and TV set, they are upsetting to them most times.
- Give them their favorites, maybe favorite snacks or object. In other words, bring items that they are familiar with, to create a friendly, and relaxed setting.
- In the evening, you can play gentle music your loved one familiar with. Sound of waves is also acceptable, this will help them to feel relaxed.
- In case of any underlying condition that may worsen sundowning behaviors such as urinary tract infection, inform your loved one’s doctor.
- Make sure you close the curtains or blinds at twilight to reduce shadows, and the confusion they may cause.
- Help your loved ones in taking a walk outside, or at least sit by the window — this helps resetting their body clock.
- Try to help them to do some physical activities or exercises daily.
- Make sure they get enough rest at night
- Help your loved ones to avoid things that seem to make sundowning worse. Cola, coffee, and alcohol may add to confusion and anxiety.
Note: If the problem persists, try to seek medical attention.
Sundowner’s syndrome brings about confusion and anxiety that may get worse at late afternoons and evenings. The symptoms may be severe when the patient does not get enough rest at night, tired, or feeling depressed.
However, there are several helpful tips on helping patients with sundowner’s syndrome. If a patient with sundowner’s syndrome exercise daily, stop taking alcohol, sleep less in the day, etc., — it may help.
At careatheart home care, we can provide your loved ones the maximum support they need. We are ever ready to help you care for your loved ones. Contact us today.
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