If your elderly family member has Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, she may experience a situation called sundowning. Sundowning is a state of confusion that your senior might experience in the two or three hours when late afternoon shifts into the evening. It can be a complicated time of day for her and there are things you can do to make it easier.
Get to Know Your Senior’s Specific Triggers
Many people with cognitive ailments have specific triggers for sundowning. Learning to recognize these triggers can help you and elderly care providers to find solutions that help your senior to avoid those issues and hopefully minimize the impact of sundowning. If your elderly family member isn’t getting enough sleep, for example, late afternoon can be more difficult. Certain foods, like sugar or caffeine, later in the day can create issues.
Learn How to Deal with Those Triggers as They Occur
There can be a wide range of different potential triggers for your senior and you may find some of them difficult to avoid. But limiting things like too much loud noise or situations that cause your senior anxiety can be helpful. If foods are sometimes a trigger, then keeping an eye on the clock can be helpful, as can eliminating those foods from your senior’s diet. You may also need to learn how to help distract her around that time of day.
Set up Some Structure in Each Day
Routines are an incredibly helpful tool for someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. The right routines build in things like regular mealtimes, set times for bathing and dressing, and proper sleep hygiene. Solid routines offer a sturdy framework for your senior’s day, while also allowing for a bit of flexibility, too. When your elderly family member knows what to expect out of every day, that’s comforting for her.
Put Lights on a Timer
The name sundowning comes from the very literal occurrence of the sun going down every day. The way that late afternoon eases into the evening can be a difficult time for your senior. Putting some of the lights in her house on a timer can help to reduce the impact of changing outside lighting on how she experiences her home environment. The change is more subtle that way, and less startling for her.
Working with elderly care providers can help you to find other ways to help your senior through this difficult time of day more easily.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring Senior Care in Glenview, 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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