sundowners and sleep: “tips for finding balance” as noted in the 12/3/13 article from “A Place for Mom”.
Sundown syndrome is a term that describes the onset of confusion and agitation that generally affects people with dementia or cognitive impairment and usually strikes around sunset. Many people, though, use the term to loosely describe increased agitation and confusion that can occur anytime but may be more noticeable in the late afternoon or early evening.
care tips for Sundowners Syndrome
Allow for light exposure in the early morning to help set an internal clock.
Daytime napping should be discouraged to help regulate the sleep cycle.
Encourage exercise throughout the day to expend excess energy.
Limit caffeine intake, particularly in the afternoon.
Plan activities during the day so there is sufficient time to transition into the evening.
Create a private space for relaxing.
When you sense agitation coming on, try a five-minute hand massage or just hand holding for a few minutes. It is good to get in front of this and not wait until it progresses.
Music or other sounds like ocean waves or singing birds can be calming.
Interaction with a pet has also been known to calm agitation.
Consider purchasing a bedside commode. Leaving his or her bed to use the restroom can start the cycle all over again, making it hard to get back to sleep.