Having a loved one with Alzheimer's disease can be a very scary and frustrating time. One thing that makes it more difficult is Sundowners Syndrome. This can be a very concerning condition for your loved one, and you need to know how to deal with an episode.
What Is Sundowners Syndrome?
Sundowners Syndrome occurs in Alzheimer's patients as the day begins to end and transition into the night. During this time, the patient can become agitated, confused, and very irritable. There is also a high likelihood that the patient will wander away from the home, which can have very dangerous results. This syndrome will constitute some form of overnight or 24-hour home care plan.
What You Should Do During An Episode
There is no cure for Sundowner's Syndrome, but there are some things you can do during an episode that can help decrease the effects. Having interaction in a regular daily social activity that is fairly quiet can be helpful. A healthy diet is also recommended. Decreasing caffeine and sugar will also help.
Once the sun begins to go down, keep the home as bright as you can. This will help balance out the darkness and make the day seem longer. Also, do some relaxing activities with the patient. Diffusing calming essential oils, such as lavender, is also very helpful.
Other Things to Think About
If you have a loved one who is dealing with Sundowners, pay attention to the onslaught of symptoms. This will help you reduce any additional stress. If you have done all you can to calm the effects of this condition, you may need to go to the hospital. Agitation that continues may be due to some pain that he or she is unable to tell you about. When in doubt, be sure to discuss your concerns with his or her physician to rule out any other potential problems.
Alzheimer's disease and Sundowners are both very worrisome conditions for the loved ones left to deal with the effects. It is a thankless job that not everyone is capable of. If the effects of these conditions become too much, it is crucial to know when to say when. If you need help, do not be afraid to ask for it. A home healthcare aid that can come in daily and give you a break can be a wonderful asset. They are prepared and equipped with the resources and training needed for these types of patients.