The long summer days have extra significance for people with Alzheimer’s — and for their caregivers. While most people wind down as the light fades, people with Alzheimer’s often become more active — and more anxious. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, this behavior, known as Sundowner’s Syndrome, affects approximately 20% of people with Alzheimer’s.
Sundowner’s Syndrome, which is most common in the middle stages of Alzheimer’s, usually begins late in the day, as it begins to get dark, and can last till morning. The symptoms can include mood swings, anxiety, restlessness, increased confusion, hallucinations, disorientation, distress that includes crying and screaming, anger, and even violence.
But Sundowner’s Syndrome can be managed. Try these 5 tips to minimize its effects on your loved one with Alzheimer’s:
1. Be home (well) before dark
Being in a familiar environment, can help you control triggers for Sundowner’s.
2. Add light
Since the darkening day is difficult for a person with Sundowner’s, you might try drawing the curtains and turning on extra lights before it begins to get dark. Keeping nightlights on through the night will also help a person with Alzheimer’s orient themselves if they wake up at night.
3. Keep it calm
Have a relaxing routine for the evenings; consider playing soft music and engaging in quiet activities.
4. Maintain good sleep habits
Avoid caffeine and sugar late in the day, and limit afternoon naps in order to encourage sleepiness at night. (This is good advice for everyone, not just people with Sundowner’s Syndrome!)
5. Pay attention
As always when helping people with Alzheimer’s disease, take note of what causes them stress. By noting their triggers for anxiety, such as a visit with people they don’t know, or going to an unfamiliar place, you can know how to organize your loved one’s evening activities.
Atlantic Coast Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, in Lakewood, NJ, provides care that is specifically designed to address the needs of individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s, dementia, or other cognitive disorders.
For the safety and well-being of cognitively impaired residents, Atlantic Coast offers a separate secure unit. The wide corridors are homelike and easy to navigate, creating an environment with a sense of familiarity and security.
The Alzheimer’s unit caregivers are specially trained to care for memory impaired residents. With their extra sensitivity and understanding of the condition and its impact, our caregivers treat each resident with dignity and love.
The cognitively impaired care program helps patients maximize their cognitive function. Likewise, the activities program is designed to foster social interaction and an appreciation of life.
For patients in more advanced stages, innovative sensory therapies such as audiovisual stimuli and aromatherapy are beneficial in inducing a sense of calm.
Or better yet, come see for yourself: Contact us to schedule a tour by calling 732-364-7100, or by clicking here.