One common mood issue among seniors with memory-related illnesses is Sundowners Syndrome. Sundowners Syndrome is not a disease, but a common behavior pattern noticed by medical staff and caregivers. Spotted by symptoms of stress, anxiety, restlessness, confusion, and/or aggression. Most common among seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
Tips for Managing Sundowners Syndrome
While most people seem to calm down later in the day, seniors with memory-related issues experiencing sundowners syndrome tend to get more active. There are several ways to help seniors through this challenge.
Since disruptions to schedules and lack of sleep can exacerbate sundowners syndrome, it is important to support seniors getting good sleep. A solid routine and supplements like melatonin can help.
Dimming lights seem to be one of the triggers of sundowners syndrome, so it can be helpful to plan to turn more lights on later in the day and keep them on until bedtime. Closing the blinds while lights are on can also minimize symptoms.
To help seniors’ moods stabilize, caregivers should be a calming presence. Limit alcohol intake and activity later in the day. Remain calm if mood swings begin. Remind seniors what time it is and what their schedule holds. This helps seniors to relax despite feelings of confusion or anxiety they may be facing.