For those who have a form of dementia — including Alzheimer’s disease — nighttime can be a difficult period. For one thing, sleeping disruptions are common. Additionally, some dementia patients start having behavioral problems during the night hours, a phenomenon known as sundowning.
Scientists have not quite discovered why this is the case, except to say that sleep problems —like memory or speech problems — seem to stem from changes that dementia makes to the brain. What science can confirm is that night problems are fairly common among those with dementia, with more than 20 percent of all dementia patients facing confusion or agitation that worsens in the hours after sunset.
If your loved one seems to face challenges that start in the evening, here are a few tips that might help you cope:
- Keep the house well-illuminated, right up until bedtime. A nightlight in the individual’s bedroom can provide comfort.
- Provide your loved one with a comfortable sleeping environment — including a comfortable temperature in the room.
- Give yourself some peace of mind by installing some discreet safety tools, such as motion detectors, to alert you of nocturnal wandering.
- Adhere to a schedule as best you can — dinner at the same time each night, routine evening activities, and a set bedtime.
- Provide a bit more physical activity in the daytime to help the individual feel more tired, more ready for bed, in the evening.
- Make sure you get sufficient rest yourself; if you’re agitated or short-tempered during the day, that energy may impact your loved one.
Nocturnal disruptions can ultimately impact the health and happiness of everyone in the home, and if you find that to be the case, that may be a good sign that it’s time to look for an assisted living community; contact us at CountryHouse to learn about making that transition happen.
Contact us today to learn more about memory care and assisted living.