How Alzheimer’s Care from Senior Home Care by Angels Helps Seniors in Canada Manage Sundowning Symptoms

Our Alzheimer’s care services help seniors manage behavioral symptoms caused by sundowning, allowing them to remain safe and comfortable at home

Living with Alzheimer’s can be a challenge for seniors and families throughout Canada. Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most common types of dementia and causes seniors to experience memory loss, confusion and disorientation, and difficulty communicating, reasoning, and handling complex tasks.

Many people may not realize Alzheimer’s can cause different symptoms at different times of the day. Sundowning, for example, occurs in the evening and can be difficult to manage. Fortunately, Senior Homecare by Angels provides in-home Alzheimer’s care that includes behaviour modification to help manage sundowning.

What is Sundowning?

Sundowning is a change in behavior, temperament, or personality that occurs in the late afternoon or early evening. According to the Alzheimer Society of Canada, about 66 per cent of people with Alzheimer’s disease experience sundowning.

Doctors are unsure what causes sundowning behaviour, but commonly believed causes are sensory stimulation overload, a hormone imbalance which affects the sleep-wake cycle, anxiety, or fatigue.

Some behaviours and emotions that may arise during an episode of sundowning include:

  • Anger
  • Agitation, restlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Fear
  • Stubbornness
  • Rocking
  • Delusions, hallucinations
  • Hiding things
  • Paranoia
  • Violence
  • Insomnia
  • Yelling, screaming, or crying
  • Shadowing
  • Wandering or pacing

These behaviours can become progressively worse and can range from a short time to the entire night.

How Can Professional Alzheimer’s Care Help?

As one of the leading network of home care agencies in Canada, Senior Homecare by Angels has the experience and resources needed to help seniors manage sundowning episodes. Our caregivers understand flexibility and empathy are essential to helping your loved one feel at ease, so you can have peace of mind knowing they’re in good hands with Senior Homecare by Angels.

Our caregivers can use these strategies to restore your loved one’s peace and calm:

  • Notice triggers. What events or activities cause their behavior to change? Does the evening news agitate your loved one? Is the late afternoon busy with activity in your home? Interruptions to the daily routine and nutrition can cause poor behavior and possibly trigger sundowning episodes. Our care providers can help your loved one stick to routines and limit their caffeine, sugar, and alcohol consumption by preparing healthy meals and snacks.
  • Use distractions. In addition, we can add activities, music, or television to your loved one’s everyday routine, especially toward the end of the day. Diverting their attention from troubling thoughts and comforting them with familiar things they love can help them feel calm and lower chances of behavioral issues.
  • Increase lighting. In addition to natural light, the use of bright lights in the room will reduce evening shadows and maintain the daytime glow until it is time for bed.
  • Darken their sleep environment. Our caregivers can make sure your loved one’s bedroom is welcoming and serene. Light-blocking curtains can create a cocoon-like setting that encourages a restful night’s sleep.
  • Consult their doctor. If your loved one’s sundowning symptoms begin to worsen, our caregivers may recommend you speak with their doctor. Some doctors prescribe anti-anxiety medication, anti-depressants, or over-the-counter vitamin supplements. The doctor should confirm there are no potential interactions with prescribed medications.

When it comes to sundowning, every person is different. Senior Homecare by Angels personalizes care plans for every senior in our care. That way, your loved one will receive the one-to-one support they need to help them manage sundowning episodes and other symptoms of Alzheimer’s right in their beloved home.

If you’d like to learn how our Alzheimer’s care services can help your loved one, contact your local Senior Homecare by Angels office today.

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