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What is Sundowner’s Syndrome?

By Debbie Waddell, 7:28 pm on

Does your elderly loved one get confused in the late afternoon or early evening? Do you notice that your mom or dad becomes agitated as the sun goes down? Perhaps they have trouble sleeping at night? If so, they may be suffering from Sundowner’s Syndrome, also referred to as Sundowning.
Sundowner’s Syndrome is a type of psychological condition with symptoms including confusion, agitation, forgetfulness, anxiety and restlessness. These symptoms are most apparent when the sun begins to set. Seniors who have trouble sleeping may also be found wandering, pacing or yelling for no apparent reason. While this condition can affect all seniors, it is often associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, most frequently in the middle and late stages. If you’re aging loved one is struggling with dementia, learn more about specialized Placer County dementia care, delivered in the comfort of home.

Little is known about the cause of Sundowner’s Syndrome, but research suggests that it involves changes in the brain associated with the circadian rhythm, one’s “internal clock.” Patients may be at a higher risk of symptoms if they are experiencing pain, severely constipated, taking too many medications, poorly nourished, or sleeping in a noisy environment.

Caring for a senior adult with Sundowner’s Syndrome requires careful monitoring and 24 hour home care in Placer County is often recommended to ensure the senior is safe at all times, especially when they have trouble sleeping at night. Caregivers can also schedule activities for and create sleeping, controlled napping and exercise schedules which can help alleviate symptoms and promote a better night’s rest. In addition, melatonin, a natural hormone has been found effective in treating some of the symptoms associated with Sundowner’s Syndrome.

As with any type of care, it is important that the caregiver attends to his or her own needs as well. Because of the around the clock attention that must be paid to a senior with Sundowner’s Syndrome, caregivers must know their limits and when to reach out for help. Options for assistance can include meal on wheels programs, maid service, support groups and help from family, friends and outside caregivers. Having a strong support system in place can help ensure that the caregiver is providing the best and highest level of care possible.

If you are interested in learning more about care for Sundowner’s Syndrome, dementia or Alzheimer’s, reach out to a Care Manager at Home Care Assistance of Placer County today. We have a team of highly trained and devoted Care Managers and caregivers who can help create the ideal care plan that ensures the comfort and safety of your loved one, while providing you with peace of mind. Call 916-226-3737 and find out why Home Care Assistance is a leading provider of live-in and hourly care in Placer County.

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