PBA Tip of the Day brought to you by Sam Ile with Anthem Seniors (602) 909-9550.
Sundowning is a serious dementia side effect that can cause a number of problematic symptoms which often interferes with a patient’s ability to live independently. You are more likely to see signs of sundowning in the late afternoon or early evening, thankfully, there are a number of changes that you can make to your loved one’s daily routine to help deal with issues related to sundowning, such as
Maximize activity earlier in the day and minimize napping (it is best to keep naps short and not too late in the day).
Minimize physical, visual and auditory clutter in your loved one’s bedroom since sensory stimulation in excess can cause anxiety and confusion, worsened by changing light. Keep it calm and comfortable, and dark at night.
Trying to reason with someone amid sundowning isn’t a good idea. Instead, try calmly reassuring your loved one that you are there and that they are perfectly safe.
Adjust exposure to light. Use bright lights in the room if adequate exposure to direct sunlight isn’t feasible. Increase indoor lighting as the sun begins to set.
Playing music and calming sounds will help your beloved fall asleep and slumber longer.
Using essential oils, such as lavender, rose, ylang-ylang, chamomile can be calming as well. Figure out which scents your loved one responds to.
Other distraction techniques you can try include getting a friend or family member to call or Skype, reading a book aloud, closing the curtains (invest in blackout curtains or blinds), walking with/talking to them, jigsaw puzzles, massage their hands, brush their hair, use herbs, supplements and medications wisely.
With that said, many assisted living facilities and caregivers can give your loved one the quality care that they need to help them overcome sundowning and other dementia-related issues, Senior Sanctuary of Anthem being one of them. Contact Sam for more information.