Also referred to as “Sundowning”, this very common behavior among seniors with some degree of cognitive dysfunction displayed in confusion, agitation and other potentially detrimental behaviors that set in as the evening sky darkens. Nancy Watkins is very familiar with Sundown Syndrome, and will help you find a care facility that will address this appropriately.
Sundowning is widely recognized by physicians and other experts in geriatric care and Alzheimers research. Caregivers may be familiar with the signs of Sundown Syndrome even if they didn’t realize it was a named condition.
As the sun sets, shadows can cause confusion and seniors may believe they are being robbed or that someone has entered their home. They may become agitated and try to leave to “go home”, become irritable and defiant, seem disoriented, experience hallucinations, or more.
What causes Sundown Syndrome? The research is underway, but there are many factors which may play a role. Changes in blood pressure, blood sugar, lack of sleep or mental exhaustion, vision and hearing changes, and changes in the body’s biological clock are among the alterations in the “normal” function that lead to Sundowning.
If you have reason to believe your loved one is experiencing signs of this syndrome, there are some ways you can help mitigate the severity of the problem. These include:
- Establishing a routine, and using the morning for more complicated tasks;
- Redirection to another task when the person is feeling agitated or struggling with a situation; using a full-spectrum lamp to help reset the body’s clock;
- and of course calling the physician if the individual is having extreme difficulty. Sometimes, medications may be used, but more frequently used is behavior modification.
If you are a caregiver of a senior with cognitive dysfunction, please consider contacting Assisted Living Options for advice on care and senior living alternatives for your loved one.