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Dementia Caregivers Helping With Sundowning

By Nate Benjamin, Co-owner of Homewatch CareGivers serving Meridian and Boise

One of the most challenging situations we face when caring for people is caring for someone who has dementia, often better known as Alzheimer’s disease. There are so many variables to caring for someone with this disease and they can change often and quickly. Let us just focus on one, sundowning, a term used to refer to someone with dementia who later in the day can have increased anxiety, anger, frustration, confusion, and lack of sleep. Everything can be relatively calm one moment and then things get turned upside down the next. One moment the person can be sitting down relaxing and the next moment they can be up anxiously wandering around and wringing their hands trying to figure out what is going on and what they should be doing next. This is particularly hard on family caregivers, many of whom are providing round the clock care for their loved one.

Our Meridian home care company can provide professional caregivers to help with sundowning challenges and to give family caregivers a little break. There is no magical solution or activity that makes this go away, but we can apply some techniques and activities that can be used to help someone suffering with dementia and sundowning relax a little and focus on something else. Sometimes a non-family member can be better received by a person who is living with dementia because they do not remind them of situations or experiences or emotional events that may be contributing to their anxiety. The caregiver’s presence can be a distraction which allows them to sometimes forget what was causing them so much anxiety. They can also read to them, help them play music, take them on a walk, prepare food for them or with them, have them assist the caregiver with some light housekeeping or folding the laundry. Being a family caregiver is already hard; caring for someone with dementia adds another level of complexity and difficulty. We are there to help support you with sundowning and other dementia related challenges your family member or friend may be experiencing.

For more information on dementia care and how we can help, please click here!

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