It can be scary to see your loved ones with memory loss be disoriented and agitated. It is common for those with Alzheimer’s disease to have such symptoms, especially during the late afternoon and carry on into the night. Your loved ones now take more time to accomplish tasks that may have once been effortless, which can lead to sundown syndrome as the sunsets. It can be difficult as a caregiver, and you may wonder what else may help. Try these five ways to help your loved ones cope with their symptoms.
The first step to minimizing potential triggers that can spur on sundown syndrome is to be aware of them. These include doing certain activities that can cause discomfort, such as watching television at a volume too loud. Environmental changes can trigger anxiety, as well as certain nutritional triggers like caffeine and sugar. It can be helpful to note down what are some things that may worsen your loved one’s symptoms so that you can create a better living environment for them.
Engage in Outdoor Activities
Getting our daily dose of Vitamin D is crucial for your loved ones with sundown syndrome. The internal biological clock can be affected by dementia and exposure to sunlight not only decreases pent-up energy, it can also normalize circadian rhythms that are responsible for healthy sleep patterns. Many older adults join exercise groups that interest them. Our Dimensions Health and Fitness program at Rittenhouse Village At Lehigh Valley offers a myriad of opportunities for your loved ones to attend fun and interesting activities in a retirement community.
Ensure Your Loved One is Well-rested
As sundowning can often happen in the night, your loved ones may be too agitated and be unable to have a good night’s rest. You can optimize the sleeping environment for your loved ones by closing the curtains at dusk and reducing the noise in the room. This can help to ease them into sleeping, and prevent fatigue as much as possible, which can worsen sundown syndrome.
For some, aromatherapy can promote health and well-being. It can be helpful in calming the senses and reducing agitation in those with Sundown syndrome. A Journal of the Canadian Geriatric Society in 2001 reported that chamomile aromatherapy significantly helped sleep-deprived seniors who have Alzheimer’s disease. Rosemary, Chamomile, and Ylang Ylang are some of the essential oils that can soothe irritation and help achieve a calm state in your loved ones.
Oftentimes, caregiving for your loved ones with sundown syndrome can be frustrating as they may not be able to reason as logically as they used to. However, being gentle with your loved ones regardless can prevent a triggered behavioral response.
Reaching Out for Help
Here at Rittenhouse Village At Lehigh Valley, your loved ones with sundown syndrome are in good hands. The SHINE® Memory Care program at Rittenhouse Village At Lehigh Valley is nationally recognized by the Alzheimer’s Association® and is specially designed to improve the quality of life for those who require extra help. To learn more about our senior living options, contact us today.