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Preventing Sundowning in Aging Adults with Dementia

Some seniors with dementia develop a condition known as sundowning, which exacerbates feelings of confusion and agitation in the evening hours. Preventing sundowning is not only good for your senior loved one’s overall health, but it can also be beneficial to you when providing him or her with high-quality Redondo Beach dementia home care

Maintain a Schedule 

It is important to develop a schedule for your loved one to follow, and stick to it. By maintaining a daily routine, you are helping reduce the risks associated with unfamiliar places and things that cause your loved one to become stressed, angry, and confused, especially during the late afternoon and evening. If changes need to be made to the schedule, make them gradually.

Light Up the Home 

Fading light triggers sundowning among seniors with dementia. Adjust the lights in your loved one’s home to control circadian rhythm, which is the sleep and wake cycle. The light diminishes at night, and shadows generally increase, which can cause your loved one to become upset. Turn on the lights and close the curtains and blinds. The brightness could help your loved one feel calm and less confused or agitated. 

Limit Daytime Naps 

Too much dozing during the daytime may make it harder for your loved one to fall asleep at bedtime. If your loved one must take a nap during the day, it should be done early and kept brief. By enhancing your loved one’s sleep quality, you can reduce his or her sundowning symptoms. 

Encourage Good Eating Habits

Fix your loved one a big lunch and a smaller meal at dinnertime. Larger meals can increase agitation and keep your loved one up well into the night. Try to avoid serving your loved one sweets and caffeine unless you do so during the late morning and early afternoon. Limiting your loved one’s evening food intake may make him or her feel more comfortable at night and rest easier. 

Restrict Evening Activities 

Schedule doctor’s appointments, visits from family or friends, and outings during the earlier part of the day. During the evening hours, reduce your loved one’s stress by sticking to activities that are not too challenging. Too much activity later in the day can lead to agitation and confusion and trigger sundowning.

For additional tips on preventing sundowning and helping your loved one manage other symptoms of dementia, reach out to Home Care Assistance. Our caregivers can provide mental and social stimulation, prepare nutritious meals, assist with exercise, and help with a wide array of other tasks. To learn more about the in-home elder care Redondo Beach seniors count on, call one of our knowledgeable Care Managers at (310) 504-0506 to schedule a no-obligation consultation.