Sun downing in the elderly

<p>In Part I of our sundowning series, we looked at signs and symptoms that caretakers might notice in someone afflicted with sundowners &ndash; from increased evening restlessness and confusion to aggression. But how should you respond if you see those symptoms &ndash; and what could you do to better cope?</p> <p>Start with a predictable routine. Begin each day early and perform tasks at the same consistent time. This includes everything from waking to dressing, meals to baths, and winding down.</p> <p>Next, create an atmosphere that&rsquo;s calm and soothing. Keep the house at a comfortable temperature, play relaxing music, and participate in activities they enjoy. Speak and behave peacefully and low-key, instructing guests to do the same. If noise is unavoidable, guide your loved one into a quieter and more relaxing nook.</p> <p>Napping or exercise up to four hours before bedtime can increase evening restlessness, so avoid naps if possible or schedule them early in the day. Diet can also worsen sundowner symptoms, so we recommend that you limit caffeine and sweets or serve them early in the day.</p> <p>When evening rolls around, draw curtains to reduce shadows and the associated anxiety they can bring. If he or she grows restless or argumentative, respond in a calm and comforting tone. Offer reassurance with statements like &ldquo;everything is okay&rdquo; or &ldquo;everyone is safe&rdquo;. You can also gently remind them what time it is. If he or she wants to walk around or pace, keep a close and watchful eye but provide the freedom to roam. Safety precautions you might consider include door or window locks, nightlights, motion detectors, baby monitors, or door sensors.</p> <p>At Manchester Place Care Homes, we provide a safe, compassionate environment for residents with Alzheimer&rsquo;s disease or dementia who are struggling with sundowning. We care for your loved ones as if they were our own. Contact us to learn about our professional around-the-clock care.</p>