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3 Ways to Soothe Sundowners

If your elderly loved one develops dementia or Alzheimer’s, he or she may experience Sundowner’s Syndrome, a condition where the hours around sunset make your loved one agitated, restless, or aggressive. While these tips may not help all seniors with Sundowner’s, Anchorage senior home care experts suggest trying the following methods for soothing sundowning symptoms.

1. Exercise
Sundowner’s is often associated with nighttime agitation and difficulty sleeping. These symptoms can be alleviated by light exercise every day, providing a release for nervous energy, producing endorphins that boost mood, and increasing overall health and stamina. With assistance from your loved one’s Alzheimer’s or dementia caregiver in Anchorage, encourage your loved one go on short walks, do some easy stretches, or even basic weight training.

2. Avoid Sugar and Caffeine
Certain foods and beverages can interrupt your loved one’s sleep cycle and contribute to mood swings. As both sugar and caffeine can cause rapid spikes in energy followed by crashes or sleeplessness, limit your loved one’s access to them, especially in the evening. Certain beverages, like coffee, tea, and soda, which frequently have high levels of both caffeine and sugar, can be particularly bad for your loved one. Remember to also be wary of decaffeinated teas and coffee that may still have traces of caffeine.

3. Try Light Therapy
For seniors who experience sundowning, shadows, darkness, or the glow of the sunset can make a familiar place seem strange or threatening. Full-spectrum lighting or other bright lights in the home can help ease your loved one’s feelings of discomfort and disorientation. You may also consider purchasing Seasonal Affective Disorder lamps, which use lights that mimic the sun. By giving your loved one’s body the impression that the sun is still up, these lamps help your loved one avoid the anxiety of sunset.

If Sundowner’s Syndrome affects your elderly loved one, combining these methods for soothing sundowning symptoms with the assistance of a professional caregiver can help. The expertly trained dementia and Alzheimer’s caregivers in Anchorage can ensure that your loved one follows these guidelines for managing sundowning by providing assistance with safely executing an exercise routine, following a healthy diet, and more. If you have questions about how a caregiver from Home Care Assistance can help your loved one, or you would like to schedule a complimentary, in-home consultation, call a knowledgeable Care Manager at (907) 770-0907.