How to Deal With Sundowning
Dementia Patients Can Struggle with Extreme Mood Swings
While nobody fully understands why dementia patients undergo radical mood swings, especially toward the latter part of the day, there are a number of hypotheses. Some scientists have researched the natural circadian rhythms, while others have studied the connection between tiredness and boredom. Whatever the cause, Sundowning can be a frustrating experience for people with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers. The team at Paradise Valley Care has developed many ways to help our residents cope with the confusion, increased anxiety or other feelings that begin to arise during the latter part of the day. We have successfully helped residents and their caregivers find balance and remain calm through several methods.
Tips to Reduce Sundowning
While Sundowning can be a common occurrence amongst people with mid- to advanced dementia, it can also affect those with early-onset. It typically occurs toward late afternoon or early evening and causes increased angst and agitation. Calming the person to reduce the Sundowning behaviors will ultimately benefit both the caregiver and the person with dementia. The team at Paradise Valley Care has compiled some of our favorite tips to reduce Sundowning, including:
Our team makes the early evening hours a quiet, peaceful time. We suggest walks and play calming music to set the right tone for the night. We close our blinds to avoid shadows and confusion amongst our residents, and reduce the clutter and noise in the common rooms.
One of our favorite methods to reduce Sundowning is distraction. We treat our residents to a delicious, healthy snack or offer to play a quiet game. Many times, our residents enjoy the feeling of being useful so we create a task they can assist us with, such as folding towels or wiping down a table.
One of the best ways to ensure our residents feel calm and peaceful in the evening hours is to fill their day with exhilarating activities that keep their mind and endorphins moving. This allows their body to relax and rest in the late afternoon.