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How to Help Your Loved One with Sundowning Syndrome During the Time Change

On November 5, we will set our clocks back an hour and it will start to get darker earlier. For some, this may seem like an effortless change and it may barely affect them. However, for seniors that suffer from Sundowning Syndrome, it can cause stress and anxiety not only for themselves but for their caregivers or loved ones as well. Sundowning Syndrome is when a person with dementia becomes irritable, angry, sad or anxious just before it gets dark. Thus, it can be a complicated time when it gets dark earlier. Here are some tips that can help your senior loved one with Sundowning Syndrome has an easier transition with the time change.

• Make sure that you mark your calendar on November 5, 2017 for the time change and that you are prepared in advance. Being prepared to accommodate Sundowning Syndrome will help
eliminate any stress you may feel as well.

• If possible, increase daily activities that will improve the chances that he or she will fall asleep early and not be affected by the dark as much.

• Most people with Sundowning Syndrome get heightened anxiety from seeing the sky change from light to dark. Closing any curtains will help distract them from the light changing.

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• When the curtains are drawn, be sure to turn on lights inside their home so that they can see clearly. It may also be beneficial to have a nightlight for them in their bedroom.

• Make sure that they eat dinner early and eliminate caffeine late in the day, as that can cause them to stay up much later than normal.

• Reassure them that everything will be okay. If your loved one has a heightened anxiety and stress due to the time change, comfort them and let them know that it will be okay.

• Seek medical attention if there is a serious issue or complaint from loved one that will prevent them from sleeping or relaxing for any prolonged period of time.

Although Sundowning Syndrome is a medical mystery, it is important to recognize it and know that there are ways to help your affected loved one. Being prepared to help during the time change and knowing the ways in which you can eliminate anxiety is crucial. We hope that these tips help you be more prepared and can bring you and your senior loved one peace of mind.

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