What Might Cause Someone To Have Sundown Syndrome
There is an association between sundown syndrome and changes in the internal biological clock among people with dementia. The internal clock governed by the circadian rhythms controls sleeping and waking, is connected to how active we are at different times of the day, and influences changes in the body that regulate behavior. Studies suggest that the biological clock shifts in people with dementia, and that shift may make some people with dementia more prone to sundown syndrome.
If someone is susceptible to sundown syndrome, researchers theorize that hunger, a drop in blood pressure after a meal , or changes in glucose levels in the blood from eating in people with diabetes may bring on agitation and confusion. Other physiological influences include whether someone is able to hear or see well.
If someone is confused and has vision problems, it may affect how he sees things around him as day shifts into twilight. We had a classic sundowning situation with a patient with macular degeneration . He was calling the police repeatedly and said that there were robbers in his house, says John E. Morley, a professor of geriatrics at the St. Louis University School of Medicine.
A visit to the mans home revealed what was triggering the calls. He had slats in the blinds on his window, and at sunset, sunlight came through and created stick figures that he thought were robbers coming into his house, he adds.
How Can You Prevent Agitation In Dementia Patients Now
The most significant factor in preventing agitation in dementia patients is to keep their internal and external environment calm. To help them feel at peace, you can:
- Design a serene environment: Soothing rituals can help dementia sufferers relax and feel less anxiety. Removing stressors and triggers can also help. You can try moving them to a quieter environment, letting them get some rest if theyre tired, and giving them more privacy.
- Stick to a routine: Bathing, eating, dressing, and taking medication at the same time every day establishes order in a world thats confusing for them.;
- Give them a comfort object: These security objects help dementia patients in the same way they provide comfort for children and adults. Children often have a blanket that soothes them, or adults may have a lucky clothing item they wear that gives them confidence and reduces anxiety when facing challenges. Comfort objects for dementia patients can also be something beloved from their childhood, such as a teddy bear, or something else they may have positive emotional attachments toeven if they cant remember why.;
- Be aware of their comfort levels: At set intervals, check in with your loved one to make sure they arent hungry, thirsty, too hot or cold, or need to use the bathroom. On occasion, see if they have any skin irritations or infections. Also, try being mindful if they seem fearful of misperceived threats or frustrated by not being able to express themselves.;;
Create A Daily Routine
It may be beneficial to establish a consistent daily routine that includes the following activities:
- waking up and going to sleep at set times
- bathing, getting dressed, and other personal care activities
- cooking and eating meals
- taking a break or nap
- socializing with friends and family
- engaging in gentle physical activity
- doing relaxing or creative activities
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Do Not Try To Stop A Person Who Wants To Leave A Room
Staying in one place for long periods may result in behavior problems in the dementia patient. It is essential to have a safe environment where they can enjoy the outdoors without any problem. When someone tries to leave a room, do not force them to stop. Doing this may result in an extreme reaction such as severe distress or injuries.
Instead, it is best to accompany the patient so that they are safe. You can even suggest going for a drive around the block so that they can experience a new environment for a short period. If they do not want company, just let them go but stay close by to make sure that the patient is safe at all times.
Ensure The Right Nutrition
It is easy for someone with dementia to forget to eat balanced and nutritious meals, making them susceptible to deficiencies and malnutrition, so youll need to also keep track of their diet. Due to an inability to express what they want at times, a person with dementia may not be able to say they are hungry or ask for what they need. Keep food and snacks and drinks readily available and visible to them so they can help themselves to what they need, without having to constantly struggle with asking. A person with dementia may lose their sense of smell so stronger flavors and more seasoning may help them keep up their appetites.13
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Stage 6: Moderately Severe Dementia
When the patient begins to forget the names of their children, spouse, or primary caregivers, they are most likely entering stage 6 of dementia and will need full time care. In the sixth stage, patients are generally unaware of their surroundings, cannot recall recent events, and have skewed memories of their personal past. Caregivers and loved ones should watch for:
- Delusional behavior
Expert Advice Does Help
Some seniors are so stubborn they will not believe anything you say. It is not until a professional doctor tells them the same thing you have said before, that they would consider it.
Experts come in all forms, from doctors, social workers, priests, and nurses. It is their credibility that can convince an elderly parent to accept assisted living or help from a caregiver. Experts can explain the benefits of receiving support and different treatments. Seek out and use these professionals as they can quickly change the mood of your loved one.
Merely speaking to an expert or professional can give a loved one the confidence in a correct answer. During this process, it is essential to utilize every tool and strategy you can.
Try To Understand Their Point Of View
It can be difficult to accept the ageing process. Add to that the effects of dementia that your loved one is facing, and you can see how hard their life has become. Its best to approach discussions about securing care with compassion. Do your best to present facts about how this support will benefit not only your elderly loved one but also fellow family members. They may find comfort in hearing about how dementia caregivers will provide help with medication, chores, grooming and more all of which will help them to live a healthy life while staying at home.
Ask What Support They Need
Since everyones needs are different, your loved ones dementia may cause them to need support in some areas and not others. For example, they may need assistance with getting to and from their medical appointments but are still able to bathe and groom themselves daily. By collaborating with your loved one, you can arrange a care plan that provides support in areas where they need it most.
Practise Your Patience
Patients with dementia may have a wandering mind that makes it difficult for them to focus. As you talk about care options, be calm and patient as it may take time for them to really hear what you are saying. When they change the topic, engage in conversation and gently try to bring chatter back to discussing their care. A calm and comfortable environment for their conversations can also help to put the patient at ease.
Present More Than One Option
Take Your Time
Things Not To Say To Someone With Dementia
Speaking to an elderly loved one with dementia can be difficult and emotionally draining. Alzheimers and dementia can lead to conversations that dont make sense, are inappropriate or uncomfortable, and may upset a family caregiver. However, over time, its important to adapt to the seniors behavior, and understand that their condition doesnt change who they are.
For senior caregivers, its important to always respond with patience. Here are some things to remember not to say to someone with dementia, and what you can say instead.
1. Youre wrong
For experienced caregivers, this one may seem evident. However, for someone who hasnt dealt with loss of cognitive function before, it can be hard to go along with something a loved one says that clearly isnt true. Theres no benefit to arguing, though, and its best to avoid upsetting a senior with dementia, who is already in a vulnerable emotional state due to confusion.
Instead, change the subject.
Its best to distract, not disagree. If an elderly loved one makes a wrong comment, dont try to fight them on it; just change the subject and talk about something else ideally, something pleasant, to change their focus. There are plenty of things not to say to someone with dementia, but if theres one to remember, its anything that sounds like youre wrong.
2. Do you remember?
Instead, say: I remember
3. They passed away.
4. I told you
Instead, repeat what you said.
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Activities For Adults With Dementia
Keeping busy stimulates the brains of elderly people with dementia while boosting a sense of usefulness and accomplishment. But they lose the ability to select satisfying activities and follow through on them so you need to initiate things to do for the person with dementia you are caring for. Too much idle time can make anyone feel lonely and unproductive, raising the risk of depression, agitation, and anger.
Working With Hospital Staff
Remember that not everyone in the hospital knows the same basic facts about memory loss, Alzheimers disease, and related dementias. You may need to help teach hospital staff what approach works best with the person with Alzheimers, what distresses or upsets him or her, and ways to reduce this distress.
You can help the staff by providing them with a personal information sheet that includes the persons normal routine, how he or she prefers to be addressed , personal habits, likes and dislikes, possible behaviors , and nonverbal signs of pain or discomfort.
Help staff understand what the persons baseline is to help differentiate between dementia and acute confusion or delirium.
For more information on dealing with dementia and hospitalization, see the University of California, San Francisco, Memory and Aging Centers Tips for Hospitalization.
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Tips For Caregivers: Taking Care Of Yourself
Being a caregiver can be extremely rewarding, but it can also be overwhelming. Caring for a person with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia takes time and effort. It can feel lonely and frustrating. You might even feel angry, which could be a sign you are trying to take on too much. It is important to find time to take care of yourself. Here are some tips that may offer some relief:
- Ask for help when you need it. This could mean asking family members and friends to help or reaching out to for additional care needs.
- Eat nutritious foods, which can help keep you healthy and active for longer.
- Join a caregiver’s support group online or in person. Meeting other caregivers will give you a chance to share stories and ideas and can help keep you from feeling isolated.
- Take breaks each day. Try making a cup of tea or calling a friend.
- Spend time with friends and keep up with hobbies.
- Get exercise as often as you can. Try doing yoga or going for a walk.
- Try practicing meditation. Research suggests that practicing meditation may reduce blood pressure, anxiety and depression, and insomnia.
- Consider seeking help from mental health professionals to help you cope with stress and anxiety. Talk with your doctor about finding treatment.
Stage 3: Mild Cognitive Impairment
Clear cognitive problems begin to manifest in stage 3. A few signs of stage 3 dementia include:
- Getting lost easily
- Noticeably poor performance at work
- Forgetting the names of family members and close friends
- Difficulty retaining information read in a book or passage
- Losing or misplacing important objects
- Difficulty concentrating
Patients often start to experience mild to moderate anxiety as these symptoms increasingly interfere with day to day life. Patients who may be in this stage of dementia are encouraged to have a clinical interview with a clinician for proper diagnosis.
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What To Do When Someone With Dementia Lashes Out Physically
Physical aggression hitting, biting, scratching, spitting, and otherwise lashing out is not uncommon in someone in the later stages of a dementia illness such as Alzheimers disease.
There are two main reasons why people with dementia may turn violent:
- Personality changes brought on by the disease include loss of inhibition and self-control. A mild-mannered individual may do things he or she never would have previously.
- Emotional or physical discomfort is the top trigger for physical aggression. The person feels insecure, threatened, angry, tired, embarrassed, humiliated, or otherwise vulnerable but lacks the ability to communicate these emotions in a socially acceptable way.
If You’re Struggling To Cope
Carers often find it difficult to talk about the stress involved with caring. If you feel like you’re not managing, don’t feel guilty. There’s help and support available.
You may benefit from counselling or another talking therapy, which may be available online.
Talk to your GP or if you prefer, you can refer yourself directly to a psychological therapies service.
What Can You Do To Help Dementia Patients Sleep Better At Night
Sleep disturbances are common in dementia patients. Some studies report that as much as 20 percent of Alzheimers patients start getting agitated, anxious, and confused at nightfall. Others may become restless or have changes in sleep patterns. Below are some suggestions to help agitated dementia patients have an easier time getting restful sleep.
- Speak to a doctor: Health care physicians should always be your first stop when you have questions regarding medical conditions or are looking for credible, science-backed information. Theyll let you know about helpful prescriptions and over the counter remedies, as well as other things to do at home.
- Keep the lights on: A well-lit home in the evening can make loved ones feel less agitated because they can see and recognize their surroundings.;
- Develop a nightly routine: Having a predictable nightly routine cues dementia patients that bedtime is coming. Their body can then prepare as well by lowering cortisol levels and ramping up melatonin production. An equally important part of winding down is avoiding stimulants and stimulating activities after sunset. If your loved one is sensitive to caffeine, consider restricting coffee morning hours.;
- Tire them out: People who spend most of the day resting wont feel tired at night. This can make it difficult to fall and stay asleep. Encouraging more physical activity and discouraging napping can ensure dementia patients are ready for sleep at bedtime.;
Why Is This Happening
There are multiple reasons a person with dementia may not comply. They may communicate this non-verbally or verbally. It is essential to understand why they may resist, or flat out refuse.
One example may be that they do not understand requests due to cognitive decline. Your demands could also conflict with their standards and preferences. It may be as simple as feeding them something they do not like or attempting to send them to bed when they are not tired.
They may feel that the tone or manner they are spoken to is rude and demeaning. This refusal can feel like a last-ditch effort to retain some control over your parents lives. They may also perceive the environment as something else than what it is. A shiny floor to them may seem wet and dangerous. Pushing them beyond their limits can, over time, ruin the trust between parties.
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Establish Whether Or Not They Are Feeling Unhappy Or Lonely
A person with dementia may want to ‘go home’ because of feelings of anxiety, insecurity, depression or fear.;
Is the person with dementia happy or unhappy now? If they are unhappy, it may be possible to discover why. If they cannot tell you why, perhaps a member of the staff or another resident knows why.
Like other people, someone with dementia may act out of character to the people closest to them as a result of ;a bad mood or bad day.
Does the person with dementia keep talking about going home when people are not visiting them in the care home? Does he or she seem to have settled otherwise? The staff in the home may know.
Dementia Care: How To Deal With Stubborn Patients
Dealing with dementia can be frustrating for both patients and families. As the disease worsens and patients age, dementia sufferers need to deal with increased memory loss, confusion and difficulty with daily tasks. However, many want to maintain their independence and will often refuse support.
If this sounds like an elderly loved one in your life, youre not alone. Here are some tips to help you cope with a dementia patient in your family if you find yourself searching dementia day care near me in frustration.
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Tips On How To Care For Someone With Dementia
With one person in the world developing dementia every 3 seconds and an estimated 50 million or more people living with the condition globally, dementia is a very real problem.1 Getting the right care is crucial to maintaining a good quality of life for those coping with this problem. To add to it, dementia doesnt just affect the individual but also those around them. Navigating what can sometimes be a very emotional and difficult path may seem daunting, but there are some ways to make it easier. What follows is a look at how to care for someone with dementia, ways to keep them happier, and for you to cope too.