Sundowning is a condition that describes the mental and physical deterioration that some seniors may experience as they age. This normal process is generally associated with memory disorders like dementia or Alzheimer’s. It can be very distressing for both the senior and their family, so it is essential to understand sundowning symptoms, what causes them, and how you can help a senior in your life manage sundown sickness. For many people experiencing senior sundowning, finding a quality memory care facility can make all the difference.
If you suspect a senior you care about is showing sundowning symptoms, you can count on the memory care services at Buckner Calder Woods to help. We provide top-quality services from our professional, friendly staff to help residents with memory disorders manage sundowning symptoms and get more enjoyment out of their days. To learn more about sundown sickness and how memory care can help, reach out to us at 844.536.0569.
What Is Sundowning in Seniors?
Sundowning is a condition that often coincides with dementia or Alzheimer’s. It is characterized by worsening behavior in the evening, which can cause confusion and agitation in your loved one. It is not fully understood why some seniors experience sundowning sickness; however, there are several contributing factors that may put someone at risk for developing this condition:
- A change in routine
- A sudden change in environment
Most seniors with memory disorders thrive on routines in a calm environment. When this routine is disrupted, it can create excess stress that may contribute to sundowning.
Common Sundowning Symptoms
The term sundowning refers to agitation and confusion in people with dementia and Alzheimer’s, which tends to happen more in the evening. Some common signs of senior sundowning are:
- Delusions – The person may have false beliefs that persist despite being shown evidence to prove otherwise.
- Hallucinations – The person may have sensory experiences that are not actually occurring, such as seeing or hearing things that are not there.
- Delirium – This refers to disorientation, fluctuating attention span, muddled thinking, excessive drowsiness, and confusion.
- Aggression – Some seniors may become agitated or violent when dementia or Alzheimer’s symptoms get worse.
Witnessing these sundowning symptoms in a senior You Love Can Be upsetting. You may also be unsure how to handle it without exacerbating the situation and making them even more agitated.
How to Handle Senior Sundowning Symptoms
If you notice a senior experiencing sundowning, it is crucial to know how to help them calm down. Being aware of their anxiety as it begins to rise can help prevent sundowning symptoms from getting worse. Here are some tips for helping a senior through a sundowning episode:
- Try to remain calm. Being anxious can make the situation worse. If you are frantic or upset, the senior in your life will pick up on that energy and become more anxious.
- Let them talk and use reassuring phrases to keep them from getting too worked up over their fears.
- Suggest going for a walk together if that seems to help them relax. If they enjoy spending time in the park or by the beach, you can take them there to help them get a change of scenery.
- Enlist the help of another trusted loved one. You may be nervous when a senior has a sundowning episode, especially if they become agitated or violent. Reach out to another loved one who can help when these episodes occur.
Over time, you will start to see a pattern in your loved one’s sundowning episodes so that you can anticipate when they will occur and what tends to trigger them. This can help you develop a routine that will keep them feeling calmer and minimize symptoms.
Find Memory Care for Your Loved One at Buckner Calder Woods
Trying to help a senior you love when they are experiencing sundowning symptoms can be overwhelming at times. With the help of memory care at Buckner Calder Woods, you do not have to manage this on your own. Our professionals are trained to help seniors in our memory care facility manage sundowning symptoms and keep them feeling calmer and happier. Call us today at 844.536.0569 to learn how we support our residents in memory care and help them enjoy a better quality of senior living.