Sundowning behaviors seem to arrive just when you’re already tired out from a long day. Your senior loved one may experience sundowning due to fatigue or confusion about what’s happening in his or her environment. In some cases, you may never really know why your loved one acts the way he or she does. These strategies are effective for helping your loved one make it through the evening with fewer instances of negative behavior.
1. Go Outside During the Day
There’s some potential truth to the concept of sundowning being associated with changing circadian rhythms. Exposure to sunlight has been shown to be effective for helping seniors regulate their behavior as day turns into night. Try to get your loved one outside each day. On days with inclement weather, try having him or her sit near a window to soak up some natural light.
2. Make Physical Activity a Priority
Regular exercise helps with many senior health challenges, and your loved one may need to burn off more energy during the day to reduce agitation at night. Try to keep exercise sessions earlier in the day to help your loved one have enough time to calm down before bedtime.
3. Reduce Noise & Clutter
Too much noise and clutter can be stressful even for people who don’t have dementia. Your loved one may be responding to a loud television in the background, or he or she may not be able to distinguish that the sirens on the TV aren’t real. Clutter can also cause shadows in the room that could scare your loved one.
Sundowning can be one of the most challenging aspects of aging, particularly for elderly people with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality homecare. Toronto families trust Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably.
4. Plan Calming Distractions
You might be able to stop sundowning if you respond at the very first signals that negative behaviors are coming. If your loved one starts to pace, try giving him or her something to do at the table, such as folding towels or organizing a junk drawer. Keeping seniors with dementia busy reduces their need to turn to challenging behaviors to feel better.
5. Limit Caffeine & Other Stimulants
Caffeine, alcohol, and sugar can all affect your loved one’s behavior. If he or she insists on having coffee or tea in the evenings, switch to a decaf version. Your loved one might also need to eat a natural dessert rather than a sugar-filled treat.
It may be challenging for a family caregiver to identify the reasons for a loved one’s sundowning symptoms, and a professional caregiver can be a great source of support. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of senior home care. You can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia.
6. Avoid Overtiring Your Loved One
Seniors should have full schedules to fill up their daytime hours. Taking your loved one on outings, playing games, and singing songs together are all wonderful ways to enhance his or her abilities. However, you may need to scale things back in the afternoon. Try doing strenuous activities in the morning so your loved one feels more rested in the evening.
7. Follow a Simple Evening Routine
Doing things the same way every night may help your loved one feel more secure. Try to develop a simple bedtime ritual you and any other caregivers can do every night. Your loved one may be less likely to refuse to get ready for bed when his or her body naturally falls into a routine.
If your loved one’s sundowning is due to dementia or Alzheimer’s, he or she may need a higher level of care than a family member can provide. Living with a serious health condition can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional 24-hour care. Toronto seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more. Trust your loved one’s care to the professionals at Home Care Assistance. To create a customized home care plan for your loved one, call (416) 488-8777 today.