Many elderly adults face challenges when it comes to their physical and mental health. Some of these elderly adults will suffer from sundowners syndrome. If you are a family caregiver of an elderly adult and you haven’t heard of sundowners, it is important to learn more about it. This is a syndrome that you should be aware of when it comes to caring for the elderly.
Professionals in the field of senior care have stated that sundowners syndrome is when someone is confused, most often in the late afternoon hours and into the night. Sundowners syndrome is often associated with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. It is important to know that while this syndrome can be tough to deal with, there are ways that you can help your elderly loved one if they have it.
Earliest Sundowners Signs to Watch Out For
In most cases, an elderly adult who has sundowners will experience symptoms in the evening, around dusk. The symptoms can be mild to severe and continue on through the night. However, they tend to disappear once morning arrives. Some sundowner symptoms include the following:
- Mood Swings
- Pacing Around
If you notice your elderly loved one experiencing any of these symptoms it is important to consult with their physician to see if they might have sundowners syndrome.
Sundowners: Is it Temporary or Is it Permanent?
Typically, sundowners syndrome is only temporary. Many elderly adults will only experience it in the evening. However, some experience it through the night, as well. However, almost all people who have sundowners see their symptoms diminish in the morning. It is important to understand that experts still have a lot to learn about sundowners syndrome. With this being said, many experts do agree that if your loved one has sundowners, it could have a big impact on their mental health in the future.
It is hard for caregivers, doctors, and other medical professionals to offer treatment options for sundowners syndrome. However, they do suggest doing the following if your elderly loved one is suffering from the disorder.
- Help them sleep better by telling them to limit their caffeine, alcohol beverages, and smoking.
- Encourage them to do all of their errands and appointments in the morning (preferably before noon).
- Let them know it is not good for them to takes late naps (most experts suggest no naps within the four hours before bedtime).
- Have them eat a big lunch and a tiny dinner (this way their body can easily digest their food which will help them sleep better).
Your loved one should also try to keep their stress levels low. Be sure that you remind them to talk to you or their caregivers if they are worried about anything.
It can be difficult for an elderly person who is experiencing sundowners syndrome. However, as their family caregiver, you can help them get through it. Take what you have learned here today and implement it with your elderly loved one.