Sundowner’s Syndrome is an ailment that causes confusion for some seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia, specifically during the nighttime hours. Since Sundowner’s is still largely a mystery to most people, the staff at Westfield Home Care Assistance wants to offer a few known facts in case you believe your elderly loved one might be experiencing Sundowner’s symptoms.
1. It Doesn’t Affect Everyone the Same Way
While approximately one in five seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia can experience Sundowner’s Syndrome, not all do. For some, the confusion can begin right as the sun sets, while others may not experience symptoms until it is completely dark outside.
2. The Cause Is Unknown
Some scientists speculate the accumulation of sensory stimulation experienced throughout the day can begin to overwhelm and stress seniors. Others believe it is due to hormones released in the evening hours or because of fatigue beginning to set in after a long day. Because Sundowner’s symptoms usually go away within an hour of the sun rising, many believe the cause is directly related to darkness.
3. It Can Lead to Unexpected Behavior
Sundowner’s Syndrome can cause agitation, restlessness, irritability, disorientation, confusion, or suspicious behavior in your loved one. As a result, he or she may yell, pace back and forth, experience mood swings, or see and hear things that aren’t there.
4. Daytime Routines Can Help Reduce Symptoms
Because your loved one may feel best in the daytime hours, any outings or errands will likely go smoother if done at this time. Brief naps during the day can help your loved one feel more tired at night, which can help him or her get much-needed nighttime rest and reduce Sundowner’s symptoms.
Though Sundowner’s is still widely misunderstood, there are many ways to help ease the symptoms of Alzheimer’s and dementia. If your loved one needs dementia or Alzheimer’s care in Westfield, reach out to Home Care Assistance. Our Caregivers are expertly trained in the Cognitive Therapeutics Method, a new activities-based program for older adults with memory related conditions, which can specifically help slow cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia. Call one of our qualified Care Managers today at 908.450.9400 to schedule a free in-home consultation.