It’s no wonder that caregivers have support groups among other ways to help them since taking care of a patient with Alzheimer’s disease is a daunting task. For the most part, you have to be at several places at the same time doing several different things.
Quite frankly, it’s a draining task which often leaves people who committed to take care of their loved one until the end exhausted. Since there are so many things to handle, people often lose track of their own health and happiness.
Many people with Alzheimer’s disease often suffer from Sundown Syndrome as well, and this requires you to make adjustments according to the needs of the person who is struggling with this symptom apart from the inability to cope with cognitive decline.
There are several symptoms that a patient might demonstrate rapid mood changes as well as mild to extreme agitation and confusion, thanks to the effects of the condition kicking in. Violent behavior, paranoia, hallucinations and wandering also take place with Alzheimer’s patients who have this condition as well.
So, it bodes well for the caregiver to watch out for these signs during the late afternoons to early evenings as well as take clear steps to treat this particular condition that makes Alzheimer’s disease much more to cope with.
Most of all, one must keep in mind, that as a caregiver, it is necessary to be patient at all times with those dealing with this condition because arguments can complicate matters for both caregivers as well as the patients.
Since Sundown Syndrome points to disturbed circadian rhythms, maintain a schedule for the patient is imperative, with the most difficult and active task to be completed as early in the day as possible. If the patient tires from these activities, it will ensure that by the time when Sundown Syndrome usually kicks in, the patient will already be in bed.
Also, ensuring that the patient has an early dinner as well as light snacks during the evenings is a good idea as this will also reduce the agitation at that time as well. Remember to also close the drapes so that the person does not see the sun go down in the evenings and also keep his or her room well-lit.
Listening to soothing music as well as a cup of decaffeinated herbal or warm milk will help the patient relax and the avoidance of caffeine during this time, in the form of tea or even sweets is advised during this time.
As a caregiver, you must reassure the patient at all time, and especially when they are confused. One way to keep them on track is to tell them where they are and what the time is.
Sundown Syndrome only lasts for a particular phase for those patients with Alzheimer’s disease and will gradually disappear as the disease progresses.
Keep a Schedule Going
Parkour is probably one of the coolest sports that you will find these days. One of the most important elements of this sport is that it emphasizes the mind-body connection due to which traceurs are able to negotiate these obstacles. And if there’s anything that true of parkour enthusiasts, it is the constant requirement to stay active, both mentally and physically, as this sport is demanding in more ways than one.
So, what does this have to do with patients who are suffering from Sundown Syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease?
As cognitive decline occurs during the different stages of Alzheimer’s disease, patients tend to become completely inactive, and is one of the reasons why restlessness, wandering and agitation usually takes place, thanks to Sundown Syndrome.
In normal circumstances, people who are active, thanks to a light or tight schedule, are able to keep track of time, and usually also know where they are. Very often, this aspect is ignored by caregivers when they are taking care of people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, and this is when patients lose track of these things that are usually a given with people who aren’t suffering from any kind of dementia.
You can blame it on their disrupted circadian rhythms but the truth is that without someone keeping track of time for them, you can expect these symptoms of restlessness and agitation to get worse with time.
Put yourself in a patient’s position: if you are in bed all the time with nothing to do and dealing with a rapid rate of cognitive decline, which involves not being able to remember or even make sound judgments, wouldn’t you too get restless and agitated of just being in one place or doing nothing at all?
Worst of all, with your circadian rhythms causing so much confusion, it might be a better idea to model a patient’s activities similar to normal patients – even if they are showing signs of rapid decline.
This is probably one of the most important tasks of a caregiver, to schedule activity for these patients, so that they not only know where they are and what they’re doing but they’re well spent – and ready to get to bed by the end of the day.
It’s that mind—body connection that comes into play again. When you move physically, your mind also begins to move, and which is something that people who are busybodies will also notice. This in turn, helps you stay sharp and focused, and ready to meet the challenges of life that await you.
As for patients with Alzheimer’s disease (and Sundown Syndrome), it helps them to remain connected with reality, thus easing the symptoms of the latter while also making the caregiver’s job much easier too.