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What Factors Might Make Sundowning Worse for Your Loved One?

Sep 8, 2017 by Nancy Hmieleski, RN, BSN Director of Nursing

Elderly loved ones with dementia or Alzheimer's disease can find themselves dealing with a condition called sundowning. In the simplest terms, sundowning is confusion that appears later in the day. It can happen for a variety of reasons and it affects every person differently. Understanding what makes it worse, in general, can help you better help your elderly parent.

Being Overly Tired

If your senior has had a busy day or she hasn't been sleeping well, she may find herself more tired than she usually is. This can make some of the experiences that she has later in the day a little more difficult to manage the way that she likes to, which can make sundowning way worse than usual.

Change in Seasons and Lighting

When the seasons change, it happens gradually enough. Unfortunately, it might not be gradual enough for your senior. Having such a big difference in late afternoon and evening lighting combined with changing patterns inside can change the reality that your loved one is used to seeing.

Waking Suddenly from a Nap

Afternoon naps can help seniors to cope with the rest of the evening, but they can also be disorienting. If your aging parent sleeps particularly hard or if she sleeps a little longer than she expected to sleep, this can give her some difficulty changing from a sleep state to a waking one.

Big Changes to Her Routine

Your senior has a routine because it works for her. When that routine is changed, whether it's for a good reason or not, it can throw everything off for her. Really big changes to her routine can throw your elderly parent out of whack for a week or more.

The People Around Her

If the people around your senior are uncomfortable, agitated, or having their own issues, it can cause her to have an unexpected reaction, too. Keeping everyone in the household calm around this time can help to keep your loved one in a good state of mind, too.

Hiring home care providers can help to give your loved one someone to be there when you're otherwise occupied during that time of day. They can help keep the routine together, too.

If you or an elderly loved one are considering home care in Neshanic Station, NJ, or the surrounding areas, call the caring professionals at Comfort Keepers of Flemington, NJ. Call today (908) 806-2220.

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