Each year in the fall and spring we adjust our clocks for daylight savings. Although a minor inconvenience and adjustment for most people, this small hourly change can have a big impact on those living with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. The shift in time and daylight hours may lead to an increase in sundowning.
What is sundowning?
Sundowning is not a disease but a set of symptoms that often occur in the late afternoon for those living with memory impairment.
These symptoms include: confusion, anxiety, aggression, pacing and wondering
So what can we do to make sundowning and daylight savings a little easier on the person with memory impairment as well as their caregiver? We share 5 tips to help with adjusting to daylight savings time and why they are important.
5 Tips to help with Daylight Savings and Sundowning:
- Routine: routine is so important when dealing with Alzheimer’s or dementia, keeping a routine no matter the season is important to create stability and reduce confusion.
- Plan your activities: your morning and daytime activities should be engaging, stimulating and active. If possible, they should involve the outdoors, fresh air and sunlight. In the afternoon and nighttime start winding down a little bit and keep the activities calm and relaxing. Think soft music, reading or mediation.
- Limit caffeine: limit caffeine and sugar to the earlier parts of the day, this will help with a more restful nighttime routine.
- Limit napping: do your best to limit the amount of naps taken during the day to ensure tiredness at night.
- Lighting: natural light is important and has many benefits but as it starts to get dark earlier it is important that all rooms are well lit. Providing adequate lighting ensures increased visibility and reduces shadows that may be disorienting and cause confusion for someone living with memory impairment. Be sure to use soft lights and as the night continues on start to dim them to signal that it’s going to be time for bed soon.
Daylight savings is tough on the circadian rhythm of most people but especially those living with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Sticking to a routine will help with keeping circadian rhythm as normal as possible while the body adjusts to daylight savings.
At Northbridge all of our associates receive dementia training to help keep our residents safe, happy and engaged. Residents in our Avita Memory Care neighborhood benefit from a robust calendar of engaging programs from when they wake up to when they go to sleep. All residents also benefit from customized care plans and our care team available 24/7 if the need arises.
If you are a spouse caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia, check out our blog, When One Partner Has Dementia and the Other Doesn’t: Senior Living Options to learn about how senior living may be beneficial to both of you!
Discover life at a Northbridge community
If you’re considering senior living for yourself or a family member, we hope you’ll visit one of our communities. You’ll find a maintenance-free, activity-filled and engaging lifestyle to help support your wellness goals.
You’ll also discover many benefits in a Northbridge Senior Living community, including our Signature Program S.T.A.R. Club (Sharp Thinking, Active Residents) – which offers our residents several activities to participate in with others, including:
- Daily exercise group
- Walking club
- Tai Chi & Yoga
- Nutritional classes
- Library and book club
- Museum outings
- Artists in residence program
- Multi-generational music
- Genealogy Generations
We’re here to answer any of your questions and invite you to download our complimentary guide Just the Facts: Your Guide to Memory Care. Please contact us if we can provide further information or if you would like to schedule a personalized tour.