Elder Care: Do you know what sundowners is?
If your elderly loved one has Alzheimer’s disease you may have heard of it. Your elderly loved one’s doctor may have even told you that your loved one has this issue. As a family caregiver, you and your elder care provider may want to learn more about what causes this health problem.
Melatonin Production Issues
One of the common causes of sundowners is decreased melatonin production. This is a chemical that is naturally made inside the body. It promotes sleep and helps to relax the body. However, people who have Alzheimer’s disease often have less melatonin production in their bodies. When this happens, it can lead to irritability in the evening and nighttime. The irritability can cause a host of other behavior problems, usually known as sundowning.
Disruptions in the Circadian Rhythm
If your elderly loved one has Alzheimer’s disease and experiences sundowning, it may be caused by disruptions in their circadian rhythm. When someone’s circadian rhythm is messed up, they may feel odd or strange later in the day. This is when their body should be calming down for the night, but instead (with sundowning) it is restless, irritable, and frustrated.
Fatigue and Mood Disorders
Two other things that could cause sundowners are fatigue and mood disorders.
Think about this – if you are fatigued, how do you feel? You likely get irritable and maybe even snap at the people you love. You might feel like you are losing your mind a bit, especially if you are severely fatigued. This is how people who have sundowners feel.
In addition to fatigue, mood disorders can cause sundowning. For example, if your elderly loved one has an anxiety disorder, it can worsen the symptoms of sundowning. Later in the evening when your elderly loved one is confused, it may be worsened as their anxiety reaches a peak. They may even try to escape their home because they don’t know where they are.
Elder Care: Conclusion
These are just some of the many causes of sundowners. If your elderly loved one is experiencing sundowning, it can be a bit helpful to learn what is causing it. For example, if it is anxiety, you or an elder care provider could help ease their anxiety. Relieving the anxiety could help to reduce some symptoms of sundowning. It is important to note that sundowning can be very difficult to deal with. If you are a family caregiver and need a break, don’t hesitate to let home care providers help.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring Elder Care in Lake Forest, IL, call the caring staff at LifeCare Home Health & In-Home Services. Call (888) 606-4199 LifeCare serves all of the Chicago Metro Area.
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