As night approaches, symptoms of sundowning may appear or get worse. Some people only experience brief symptoms while others may stay up all night or even reverse their usual sleeping patterns.
Those that are experiencing sundowning could feel:
Those that are sundowning are more active at night, pacing, wandering, and shadowing, meaning they follow their caregiver around and might even mimic their behavior. They could also be less likely to listen to others or follow instructions. To help your aging loved ones, here are some tips to minimize sundowning!
Increase Light Exposure
Disruption of the body’s circadian rhythm, sometimes known as the “internal clock,” is one of the key factors hypothesized to lead to sundowners. Sundown symptoms can happen if the body’s biological clock isn’t in sync with the day/night cycle.
Make sure your loved one receives plenty of exposure to strong light throughout the day to correct this imbalance. Bright light exposure during the afternoon and evening has been shown to improve agitation and the quality of overnight sleep while reducing sundowning episodes and restless behaviors.
Begin a Regular Exercise Program
Numerous sundowners experience poor sleep, which can exacerbate the effects of their symptoms and possibly keep them awake all night. Regular exercise has been demonstrated to be beneficial in helping to counteract this effect.
It has been discovered that a regular walking schedule with extended walking times will enhance sleep quality and reduce sundown syndrome. Particularly, walking with a spouse or other family member is preferable to walking with a caregiver who is not a member of the family.
Additionally, regular exercise has been shown to lessen verbal and physical abuse as well as roaming in dementia patients.
Use Music as Therapy
Dementia patients’ apathy has been observed to be decreased by live interactive music. Agitation and anxiety have improved in some studies using music therapy.
Playing well-known music and having your loved one sing along or clap along in time to it may be a beneficial and enjoyable intervention.
Diffusing fragrant oils into the environment is a component of aromatherapy. In a study of patients with dementia, lavender oil was found to reduce agitation. In a separate study, it was discovered that diffusing rosemary and lemon essential oils in the morning and lavender and orange in the evening helped Alzheimer’s patients with their orientation.
Plan Activities During the Day
Planning daytime activities that your loved one enjoys is a terrific approach to keep them active and engaged during times when they would otherwise go off to sleep. They may be kept awake and attentive throughout the day by simple activities they enjoy, such as handicrafts, art, light gardening, or strolling, which can aid in improving their quality of sleep at night. However, be cautious not to overwhelm your loved one as this can potentially lead to an aggravation of sundown symptoms.
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As a resident, your loved one can enjoy our wide variety of resort-style amenities and exclusive senior living programs. We ensure that their stay with us will be comfortable and stress-free since we provide two senior living options, including Assisted Living and Memory Care. For more information, contact us today!