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Symptoms of Sundowners Syndrome
  1. Sundowner's Syndrome : Elderly dementia after sunset
  2. Strategies for Dealing with Sundowners Syndrome (aka Sundowning) in Seniors
  3. Sundowner’s Syndrome
  4. Dealing with Elderly Parents
  5. PART 1. Work, Family & Your Caregiving Responsibilities

Sundowner's Syndrome : Elderly dementia after sunset

In the winter, when days got shorter, I would often turn on the bright back porch lights outside our dining-room window, which helped prevent Dad from thinking it was already bedtime. Play music and calming sounds. We used music throughout the day for Daddy — instrumental music as he woke up, sing-along favorites or show tunes to activate him, and calming music when sundowning set in. If Dad got anxious, my sister and I started singing his favorite songs and he would join in — a great diversion.

Playing nature sounds like rain or ocean waves all night, or just white noise, helped him fall asleep and slumber longer. Use essential oils.

Strategies for Dealing with Sundowners Syndrome (aka Sundowning) in Seniors

Lavender, rose, ylang-ylang, chamomile, blue tansy, frankincense and other essential oils can be calming. If you want to encourage waking up and activity during the day, try bergamot, jasmine, peppermint, rosemary or a citrus such as grapefruit, lemon or orange.

Test which scents your loved one responds to. Essential oils also can be used for aromatherapy. We used lavender oil in a diffuser for Dad, but you can also use it to scent a cotton ball, or mix with water and spray it in the air. They can be potent, so be sure to use appropriate amounts and dilutions. Give healing touch. Never underestimate the value of a hand or foot massage to relax tense muscles and increase feel-good hormones. For example, when Dad was at the height of sundowning, we prepared a warm footbath with herbs and essential oils and soaked and massaged his feet every evening, which eased him through the transition incredibly well.

He always loved having his head rubbed and scratched, so doing that immediately calmed him.

Sundowner’s Syndrome

He also got a professional massage once a week, which helped on an ongoing basis. A loving hug or holding hands can be physically calming and emotionally reassuring for your loved ones, breaking the cycle of anxiety. Try acupuncture. Acupuncture has been used to treat anxiety and depression for many generations and is increasingly being accepted by Western medicine.

I started taking Dad to acupuncture to help with grief, depression and anxiety and was pleased at how it relaxed him; he continued acupuncture for the last five years of his life. The sessions would start with a short massage to calm him very important , and he generally slept through the treatment.

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Use herbs, supplements and medications wisely. Ask the doctor about medications that might help with symptoms, such as antianxiety drugs and antidepressants. Be sure to ask about and monitor possible side effects; for some people with dementia, sedating drugs can cause the opposite effect. A geriatric psychiatrist is an excellent resource. Also ask about herbs and supplements, such as lemon balm, valerian, chamomile, kava and holy basil. There are many supplements that claim to be calming and stress-reducing, including melatonin , magnesium, and B, C and E vitamins.

Dealing with Elderly Parents

Keep in mind that a brain with dementia may react differently to certain treatments. Managing sundown syndrome requires creativity, flexibility, empathy and strong observational skills as we try to determine what triggers our loved ones and how to address the behaviors. No two people with dementia are exactly alike, so be prepared to test different approaches. By : Kimberley Fowler. Pin It. So, What Can You Do?

We Can Help! Our local advisors can help your family make a confident decision about senior living. About the Author Kimberley Fowler is a writer and editor dedicated to improving seniors' lives through education, activism, volunteerism and community programs.

https://xn--c1adm4ar4d.xn--p1ai/modules Her other passions include yoga, literature, history, education and conservation. She is active in her local community and currently volunteers with the Hamilton Naturalists' Club. Please share your thoughts or comments on this article:. By clicking Go! You also consent that we can reach out to you using an auto-dialing-capable phone system.

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PART 1. Work, Family & Your Caregiving Responsibilities

Anosognosia and Alzheimer's Posted On 22 Mar Newsletter Signup. Get the latest tips, news, and advice on aging and caregiving. Join our ever growing community. Most families find that it is best to begin exploring care options early, and discuss the possibility of a future transition with their loved ones before any accidents occur that would prompt a rapid transition.

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Research shows that senior living communities foster a much more active lifestyle than in-home care. Even the process of dressing and going to meals is stimulating and most senior living communities offer activities geared toward seniors.

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Yes, in many cases, it is better than staying home. Explore care options in your area, compare prices, get in touch with communities, and book tours here. Start your journey today and discover the perfect long-term care solution for your loved one. First Name. Last Name.