Caring for Someone through Sundowning Syndrome
Home Care Nursing
When caretaking for someone with Alzheimer’s syndrome, the early afternoon can be the most challenging time. As the outside light fades, patients can find themselves undergoing massive emotional stages. Aimless pacing, a feeling of disorientation, and agitation are just some of the responses during Sundowning Syndrome.
The following will explore this phenomenon and explain the best way to care for someone who is prone to sundowning.
Why does Sundowning Syndrome happen?
Scientists do not know specifically why this phenomenon occurs. Although there are no factually accepted causes, there are a few theories. One of these is that Alzheimer’s alters a person’s ‘biological clock.’ This alteration creates a discrepancy between a person’s interior understanding of the day and the exterior world around them. Thus, when the fading light of twilight comes, this can heighten the discrepancy and trigger a sense of unease.
Caring for Someone During the Twilight Hours
When caring for someone who is sundowning, the most important thing is to remain calm. If a caretaker becomes agitated, this can escalate the feeling of unease and cause a negative reaction in the individual. Instead, a caretaker should remain patient and create a safe space. This includes:
– Listening to the agitations that the person is feeling
– Reassuring the individual of their surroundings
– Distracting them from anything immediately triggering or stressful
Through creating a safe space for the sundowning individual, caretakers are able to add a sense of control and calm to the situation.
Preventing Sundowning Syndrome
Although there is no known cure for this syndrome, it is possible to quell its onset through preventative measures. These include:
- – Shadow Control
A way to prevent heightened sundowning is to limit the amount of shadows in the home or domicile. This is because the presence of shadows can heighten the “biological clock” confusion and anxiety. Caretakers can easily limit the shadows in home by closing shutters, blinds, and curtains in the evening.
- – Promote a Healthy Sleep Schedule
Another way to prevent sundowning is to ensure that the person is well-rested. If a patient is already tired, this can exacerbate confusion in the afternoon and evening. Thus, it helps the person to get a good night’s sleep, take an earlier nap if needed, and avoid any late day caffeinated drinks.
Although sundowning syndrome can be a challenging time, the situation can be helped through knowledge, understanding, and home care nursing in Delray Beach, FL. Through preparation, consideration, and a collected demeanor, caregivers can help guide their loved ones through the night and into the dawn.
Thanks to Expicare Nursing Agency for their insight into in-home nursing care and sundowning syndrome.