Sundowners Syndrome: What Caregivers Need To Know

Religion & Spirituality Blog

If you have a loved one suffering from Alzheimer's disease, you may begin to notice that nighttime begins to lend itself to some odd behaviors. Being confused or upset is a direct indication of Sundowners Syndrome, and it can be very concerning for everyone involved. The following are some things you need to know about Sundowners and ways you can be helpful during an episode:

Sundowners Syndrome Defined

Sundowners Syndrome is a problem for may Alzheimer's patients as the day begins to turn to dusk into the later hours of the night. At this time, agitation, confusion, and irritability will begin to appear in the patient. He or she may also have a tendency to wander from the house, which increases the need for assisted living or 24-hour care inside a home to ensure they remain safe and secure.

There is no known cause of Sundowners, although many researchers have theories. Some believe that the activities of the day over-stimulate the senses in Alzheimer's patients and causes them to act out as the day draws to a close. Other researchers believe it has to do with an imbalance of hormones combined with fatigue.

How You Can Help During A Sundowners Episode

Just like Alzheimer's, there is no way to cure or halt Sundowner's Syndrome. There are some things you can do each day that will help decrease the effects of the symptoms, however. Consider having the patient in a quiet daily social activity. This can be time spent playing cards, knitting, or other low-key social outing.

A healthy diet is also helpful to keep the triggers of Sundowners at bay. Pay close attention to the level of caffeine the patient has, and try to limit it to mornings only. Cutting caffeine and sugar out of the diet completely is ideal.

As the sun begins to set, try to keep the house as light as you can to help counter balance the darkness outside. Also, have some relaxing activities in place to help ease them into the evening. Play soft music, have them drink some herbal tea, and even diffuse some lavender essential oil.

Special Things To Consider

It is crucial that you pay very close attention to Alzheimer's patients who suffer from Sundowners. If you begin to notice patterns, be sure to be prepared for them in order to avoid any additional stress. Also, if you notice that the agitation from Sundowners is still present despite everything you have done, it is possible they may be in some pain that you are not aware of, especially if they are having issues verbalizing. A trip to the emergency room may not be out of the question to rule pain out as a possible cause of extended agitation.

More than anything, realize when you are no longer able to adequately care for your loved one. Dealing with Alzheimer's is a difficult, thankless job and is not for the weak-hearted. Know what your limits are. Do not feel badly about considering assisted living facilities. They are equipped with the staff and resources needed to take care of your loved one and provide them with a stable living environment. To learn more, contact an assisted leaving facility like United Methodist Village


2 June 2016

Learning About Religion

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