Philippians 4:7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
The photo was taken at 7 am 14 December 2020 In our front yard.
For 2 nights in a row, I’ve not had Mike explode over anything. He’s been quiet and peaceful, just like normal. And I have changed up a couple of things. 1st. I gave him dinner at 4 pm instead of 6:30, and 2nd I had some cheese and crackers ready for him for snacking. (more healthy than chips or cookies) I don’t know if these are reasons for him to be more calm, but I’ll take it for as long as it lasts. According to everything I’ve read, Mike seems to be at the beginning stages of dementia, but seems to be slipping into the middle stage. He was becoming very angry and aggressive in the evenings, to the point where I have been scared for my safety. I am hoping the peace lasts with the earlier dinner time and healthier snacks around.
Let’s look at some of the probably ways to help reduce “Sundowner’s” – a known possible problem associated with dementia:
- Keep on a schedule: Dementia can make it hard to develop and remember new routines. Your loved one might react to unfamiliar places and things with feelings of stress, confusion, and anger. These feelings can play a large role in sundowning.
- Put more light in your home: Your loved one might experience sundowning as the result of changes in their circadian rhythms — their sleep-wake cycles. Adjusting the light in their home might help reduce their symptoms.
- Keep active: Many people who experience sundowning syndrome have trouble sleeping at night. In turn, fatigue is a common trigger of sundowning. This can create a vicious cycle. Too much daytime dozing and inactivity can make it harder for your loved one to fall asleep at bedtime. To promote a good night’s sleep, help them stay active during the day. For example, go for a walk in the park together or clear some space to dance. This might help improve their sleep quality and reduce their sundowning symptoms. It can also help them enjoy better physical health.
- Change eating habits: Adjusting your loved one’s eating patterns may also help reduce their sundowning symptoms. Large meals can increase their agitation and may keep them up at night, especially if they consume caffeine or alcohol. Encourage your loved one to avoid those substances or enjoy them at lunch rather than dinner. Limiting their evening food intake to a hearty snack or light meal might help them feel more comfortable and rest easier at night.
- Help reduce stress: Try to help your loved one stay calm in the evening hours. Encourage them to stick to simple activities that aren’t too challenging or frightening. Frustration and stress can add to their confusion and irritability. If they have mid-stage or advanced dementia, watching television or reading a book might be too difficult for them. Instead, consider playing soft music to create a calm and quiet environment. It might be a nice time for them to snuggle with a beloved cat or other pet.
- Help with comfort and familiarity: Think back to the last time you were sick. Chances are you wanted to be surrounded by comforting thoughts, things, and people. For someone with dementia, the world can become a scary place. Comfort and familiarity can help them cope with this difficult time in life.
- Track behavior: Each person has different triggers for sundowning. To help identify your loved one’s triggers, use a journal or smartphone app to track their daily activities, environments, and behaviors. Look for patterns to learn which activities or environments seem to make their symptoms worse. Once you know their triggers, it will be easier to avoid situations that promote agitation and confusion.
- You, the caregiver: Sundowning syndrome can be exhausting, not just for your loved one but for you too. As a caregiver, it’s essential to take good care of yourself. You’ll be in a better position to give your loved one the patience and support they need when you’re rested and healthy. Try to eat a well-balanced diet, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep at night. Ask other family members or friends to spend time with your loved one, so you can enjoy regular breaks. You can also ask your doctor about respite care and other professional support services, which can help you take time out from your caregiving duties.
Today was delightful and quiet. It’s been a great day. Have a good evening.