One of the symptoms of sundowner’s syndrome, a condition experienced by seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia, is difficulty getting to sleep. When seniors who experience sundowning symptoms are unable to sleep, other symptoms of their conditions can get worse. To help your elderly loved one avoid making his or her other symptoms worse, try out these tips for helping him or her get a good night’s sleep.
1. Regulate Daytime Activity
Certain activities can interfere with the body’s circadian rhythms if they’re performed at the wrong time of day. Exercise, large meals, and late afternoon naps may make your loved one restless before bedtime, so make sure to restrict these activities to the morning. Correspondingly, evening activities should be calm, quiet, and simple. As your loved one is more likely to be easily agitated after a long day, which can make sleeping more difficult, it’s important to ensure he or she has a relaxing evening.
If your loved one is living with dementia or Alzheimer’s, he or she may need a higher level of care than a family member can provide. Living with serious health conditions can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional live-in care. Barrie seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more.
2. Signal Bedtime with Light
Bright light during the day is healthy and can keep the other symptoms of sundowner’s syndrome at bay. At night, however, light (especially light with a blue tinge) can confuse the body’s internal clock. A night-light in the hallway is a good safety feature in case your loved one needs to use the bathroom during the night, but try to keep the bedroom itself dark. If your loved one experiences fear when waking during the night, keep a lamp by the bedside.
3. Avoid Caffeine & Alcohol
While you probably already know your loved one should avoid coffee and tea in the afternoon, you might not think to check for hidden caffeine in products like chocolate or sports drinks. Caffeine in the afternoon can make it difficult to calm the mind before bedtime. Likewise, alcohol in the evening can interrupt sleep. Though alcohol might make your loved one sleepy at first, it can interfere with the sleep cycle during the night, leaving him or her fatigued in the morning.
Sundowning can be one of the most challenging aspects of aging, particularly for elderly people with advanced 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 elderly home care. Barrie families trust Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably.
4. Evaluate Sleep Quality
If your loved one is experiencing snoring or difficulty breathing at night, talk with his or her doctor. These issues can disrupt sleep during the night and lead to daytime napping, increased caffeine intake, and other behaviors that interrupt the sleep schedule. If your loved one is getting up at night to use the bathroom or experiencing incontinence, you may also want to consider limiting liquids right before bedtime or discussing further changes with your loved one’s doctor.
5. Establish a Consistent Bedtime Schedule
Once a bedtime schedule is established, many seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia find it easier to sleep all night. A regular bedtime routine may also cut down on the rate and severity of sundowner’s syndrome experienced later in the day.
Itcan be challenging for family caregivers to know how to manage their loved ones’ physical and cognitive needs, and professional caregivers can be a valuable resource. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of homecare services. You can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide an individualized care plan 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. To learn more about our reliable, compassionate in-home care services, contact us at 647-970-3803 today