Assisted Living At Home - Sundowning Syndrome

Assisted Living At Home - Sundowning Syndrome

In the coming weeks, I want to discuss Sundowning Syndrome because more than 60% of adults who suffer from cognitive impairment experience a certain set of sundowning (neuropsychiatric) symptoms which makes caring for them even more challenging.

So, what is sundowners syndrome?

It is neuropsychiatric symptoms that affect many adults who suffer from late-stage Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia. Symptoms of sundowners syndrome include confusion, disorientation, irritability, restlessness, agitation, suspicious feelings, and a demanding demeanor. There is no test available to diagnose sundowners. Diagnosis is based on appearance and frequency of symptoms.

Watch your loved one for symptoms, especially during the late afternoon. Record your findings and talk with a doctor about your concerns. There is also no cure for sundowners. Very often, the symptoms of sundowners syndrome usually intensify as the syndrome progresses. Symptoms can become more regular and severe and might include delusions, paranoia, hallucinations, fear, and anxiety.

Five ways to help mitigate Sundowning Syndrome symptoms

Although there is no cure for sundowners, there are five things that have been shown to help with the symptoms:

  1. PROVIDE A WELL-LIGHTED ENVIRONMENT. Adequate light can calm those suffering from sundowners and ease fears or confusion around their surroundings. Close window shades as evening approaches and turn on indoor lights.

  2. MANAGE PHYSICAL NEEDS. Ensure your loved one eats well and is well hydrated. Control their pain needs as directed by a doctor. Help your loved one get more sleep.

  3. PROVIDE A CALM AND PEACEFUL LIVING SPACE. Keep noise to a minimum, play relaxing music, or do an activity your loved one enjoys.

  4. MAINTAIN A DAILY SCHEDULE. This will help your loved one manage expectations of what is happening.

  5. CARE FOR YOURSELF FIRST. Caring for yourself reduces anxiety and promotes life balance. Emotions are attractors and when you are thriving your loved one will do the same. Next week, we will discuss strategies for caring for yourself.

My favorite thing to do as the owner of Comfort Makers is to help families to find customized, affordable, and life-enhancing caregiving solutions that can transform caregiving into a gratifying experience. If I can be of help, please contact our office.

–Katie | 503-369-2460