Hi this is Anthony Diaz with Rosa’s Chante Adult Care Home. Have you heard of Sundowners? So few people know it yet Sundowners hits many elderly people, especially this with dementia and Alzheimer’s.
People with Sundowners experience periods of extreme agitation, confusion, mood swings, disorientation to time and place, hallucinations, abnormally demanding behavior during the late afternoon or early evening hours, anger, fear, crying bouts, depression, rocking, restlessness, paranoia and violence.
The exact cause of Sundowners appears to be a mystery. It was originally believed to be a result of missed day/night light cues — a malfunctioning internal biological clock — hence the sudden onset at sundown. More recent research has raised the possibility of more organic causes such as drug interactions or stress associated with lower cognitive function.
Some of the things that increase the risk of this condition is pain, fecal impaction, malnutrition, polypharmacy (taking a lot of drugs), infections, REM sleep disorders, and environmental disruptions.
For caretakers who are dealing with people who have sundowners, there are some helpful ways to deal with someone suffering from this. One of the most helpful treatments is light therapy. Keeping lights on into the hours of darkness may help. It is suggested that people get light boxes, shut the curtains by sundown and us light therapy.
Structured activities is very important. If an activity has been planned and structured in advance and is something that would definitely interest the person with Sundowners, chances are they will experience less agitation.
Very important it monitoring diet. Watch for patterns in behavior linked to certain foods. Avoid giving foods or drinks containing caffeine or large amounts of sugar, especially late in the day. Drink plenty of water!
Controlling noise. It may be helpful to reduce the noise from televisions, radios, and other household entertainment devices beginning in the late afternoon and early evening. You might want to think about music therapy which has been shown to help individuals with sundowners syndrome feel calmer.
Dealing with a loved one suffering from sundowners may become frustrating and knowing a few tips can be very helpful not only to the caregiver, but to the person they are giving care to. Be sure to talk to your caregivers doctor if you suspect Sundowners.
Of course we here at Rosa’s know about Sundowners and go out of our way to make sure our reseidents are confortable and able to handle the symptoms.