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Elderly Care Professionals Share Tips for Coping with Sundown Syndrome

Sep 25, 2017 by Robert Myer

Does your senior loved one suffer from Alzheimer’s disease? In honor of World Alzheimer’s Awareness Month this September, Comfort Keepers Home Care in Metairie, LA is proud to bring you tips on dealing with one of the most common problems associated with this disease.

The sleep disruption, confusion, and behavioral changes that come with sundowning can be overwhelming for family caregivers. Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia are degenerative diseases. As a memory illness progresses and a senior’s memory fades, the symptoms they present change. Sundown syndrome, also known as sundowning, is a symptom of Alzheimer’s that occurs in the middle stages of the disease. Professional elderly care providers can help families cope with sundowning and other symptoms of Alzheimer’s.


Below are some tips for coping with sundown syndrome and other Alzheimer’s symptoms:

Manage Triggers to Create a Safe Environment

Poor lighting and shadows often increase confusion and anxiety with seniors experiencing sundowning. Keep the home well-lit in the evenings to help your loved one recognize their surroundings and that they are safe. Having an elderly care professional present overnight can also help reassure your loved one that they are safe at night. Since exhaustion contributes to Alzheimer’s symptoms, make a comfortable and safe sleep environment. Sticking to a sleep schedule and avoiding mental stimulants like caffeine, sugar, or watching television before bed are also helpful.


Recognize the Signs

Sundown syndrome, or sundowning, received its name because it’s symptoms typically occur in the late afternoon or evening. Alzheimer’s symptoms such as confusion are exacerbated by the end-of-day physical and mental exhaustion. According to the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregiver Center, as many as 20% of seniors with Alzheimer’s will experience increased anxiety, confusion, and agitation late in the day. Being able to recognize sundowning and other Alzheimer’s symptoms is the first step in providing proper dementia care.

Know When to Look For Help

Even when you are able to identify Alzheimer’s symptoms and the negative effects of things like sundowning, there may come a time where professional help becomes necessary. Professional caregivers and senior living facilities specially trained in memory care may be better suited to care for your loved one. What is most important to know when coping with memory illnesses is that you are never alone.

Could you or a senior loved one benefit from dementia care support? Contact us or call (504) 300-0115 to schedule a free home visit. One of our elderly care specialists can help you create a unique care plan that will work with your loved one’s symptoms to help them stay comfortably and safely at home. 


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