8 Ways to Handle Sundowning in Seniors

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Tips to Handle Sundowning in Seniors in Columbus, OH

The symptoms of dementia often worsen as the day turns into night. One of the most common of these symptoms is sundowning, and seniors who experience this syndrome may get aggressive, wander around, or become upset in the evening. Caregivers who want to reduce the severity of sundowning should consider the following tips.

1. Keep the Surroundings Calm

For some seniors, sundowning seems to occur because the home gets busier as people get off work and start cooking dinner. Keeping your loved one in a calm room without excessive stimuli can keep sundowning at bay. Try to find a quiet, cool place without a television or radio.

Caring for senior loved ones can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.

2. Find Fun Distractions

If your loved one repeatedly tries to exit the home or engage in another undesirable behavior in the evening, consider keeping him or her distracted with a favorite TV show, playtime with a pet, or an exercise.

3. Consider Aromatherapy

Soothing essential oils can help your loved one feel peaceful once the sun goes down. You can use scents like lavender, chamomile, ylang-ylang, and rose in a diffuser to spread the scent throughout the room. 

4. Discuss Medications

If the sundowning is particularly bad, talk to your loved one’s doctor about a medical solution. There are anti-anxiety drugs and antidepressants that can keep a senior’s mood stable in the evening.

5. Monitor the Diet for Triggers

Track your loved one’s diet for a few days to see if he or she is eating something that’s causing the issue. Consuming caffeine, sugar, or greasy foods may worsen sundowning symptoms. Not eating in the early evening can also be a trigger because low blood sugar can cause behavioral issues.

6. Stay Active during the Day

Make sure activities like appointments, social engagements, errands, and trips are all completed earlier in the day. These activities may tire your loved one out before the sun sets, and having a free schedule in the evening may prevent him or her from feeling overstimulated. 

Dementia is a serious health concern among the elderly. If your senior loved one needs help managing an illness or assistance with daily tasks, make sure you choose a top-rated provider of elderly home care. Columbus Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life in the golden years. From the mentally stimulating activities in our Cognitive Therapeutics Method to our friendly Care Managers who are available to answer your questions 24 hours a day, we offer a wide array of high-quality at-home care services.

7. Make the Indoors Bright

Sundowning is often linked to fluctuating hormone levels due to light exposure. Purchase a UV lamp and use bulbs with bright white light to trick your loved one’s body clock into feeling like it’s still daytime.

8. Maintain a Stable Routine

Seniors with dementia tend to get stressed out by any changes to their schedules and surroundings. You can reduce some of the evening upset by helping your loved one maintain a simple schedule. Always schedule things like dinner, medications, showers, and toothbrushing at the same time to help your loved one relax in the evenings. 

Aging in place can present a few challenges for seniors living with dementia. However, they can still live independently at home with the help of professional dementia care. Columbus families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide their elderly loved ones with mental and social stimulation, timely medication reminders, assistance with meal prep, and much more. Our caregivers are available around the clock to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life. To learn about our revolutionary in-home care plans, call us at (614) 481-8888 today.


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