This is a syndrome that often occurs with dementia. It is when the symptoms of dementia, such as confusion and irritability, are worse at the end of the day or at nighttime. The main cause for this is primarily due to fatigue and exhaustion. If your elderly loved one does have sundowning, you may be wondering whether the symptoms of it can be reduced. The short answer is yes.
One of the ways that you and elderly care providers can help reduce the symptoms of sundowning for your loved one is to get them outside in the daytime. Their body will get used to the day/night cycle. If you can get your elderly loved one exposed to the sun during the day, this can help regulate their behaviors. If there is bad weather, you or an elderly care provider should try encouraging your loved one to sit near a window for part of the day.
Your elderly loved one could also benefit from doing more physical activity. When someone has sundowning, part of the problem is they still have too much energy at the end of the day. This can lead to increased agitation, as well. In order to reduce this agitation, your elderly loved one needs to burn off more energy in the daytime and early evening hours. The best way for them to do that is by going for a walk or exercising in the day. When the evening comes, hopefully, they will have less energy, so they can relax.
Two other things that could be causing your elderly loved one’s symptoms to be worse are clutter and noise. These things could be causing extra stress on your loved one. They could also cause confusion for them, as well. If you or an elderly care provider can try making your loved one’s home environment as clean and quiet as possible later in the day, this could help them to have fewer or more mild sundowning symptoms.
Does your elderly loved one have sundowning syndrome? If so, there are some ways that you and elderly care providers can help them to reduce their symptoms. While there is no guarantee that you can get rid of this syndrome, hopefully, these tips will at least help them to rest easier later in the day.