Sep 22, 2017 by Marlin Duncan
Does your senior loved one suffer from Alzheimer’s disease? In honor of World Alzheimer’s Awareness Month this September, Comfort Keepers of Hazleton, PA is pleased to bring you senior care tips for dealing with one of the most common problems associated with this disease.
As a memory illness progresses and your senior loved one’s memories begin to fade, the symptoms they present often change. Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia are degenerative diseases. Sundown syndrome, also known as sundowning, is a symptom of Alzheimer’s that occurs in the middle stages of the disease. The sleep disruption, confusion, and behavioral changes that come with sundowning can be overwhelming for family caregivers. Having a home health aide can make it easier for family caregivers to provide the 24 hour home care that their loved one needs.
Sundown syndrome, or sundowning, received its name because the symptoms typically occur in the late afternoon or evening. Alzheimer’s symptoms such as confusion are exacerbated by the end-of-day physical and mental exhaustion. According to the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregiver Center, as many as 20% of seniors with Alzheimer’s will experience increased anxiety, confusion, and agitation late in the day. Being able to recognize sundowning and other Alzheimer’s symptoms is the first step in providing proper dementia care.
Poor lighting and shadows often increase confusion and anxiety among seniors experiencing sundowning. Keep the home well-lit in the evenings to help your loved one recognize their surroundings. Since exhaustion contributes to Alzheimer’s symptoms, construct a comfortable and safe sleep environment. Sticking to a sleep schedule and avoiding mental stimulants like caffeine, sugar, or watching television before bed are also helpful. If you struggle providing care for your senior loved one living with Alzheimer’s, a Comfort Keepers home health aide can give you the professional assistance you need, as well allow you to take time to care for yourself.
Even when you are able to identify Alzheimer’s symptoms and the negative effects of things like sundowning, there may come a time where professional help becomes necessary. Professional caregivers and senior living facilities specially trained in memory care may be better suited to care for your loved one. What is most important to know when coping with memory illnesses is that you are never alone.
If you are a family caregiver for a loved one that has Alzheimer’s it’s also important for you to look after your own mental and physical health. Call (570) 483-8913 or contact us to speak with one of our senior care specialists in Hazleton, PA today. Learn more about how you and your senior loved one could benefit from having a home health aide provide respite care at home.