Help with Sundowing

Sundowning is hard–both for the loved one and the caregiver.  It’s the jitters on steroids and sometimes it’s strong and sometimes it’s not.  But as the sun goes over the horizon it is like our loved one turns into a nervous mess.  It typically only lasts a couple of hours but those couple of hours can be distressing.  Here are 4 of some of the best ways to deal with sundowning:

  1.  Satisfy the need for motion.   During sundowning there is a high need for movement.  This can look like your loved one getting up and down and all over the place in a nervous manner.  If you have a golf cart (or have ever wanted one), it is ideal.  Put your loved one in the golf cart and bounce around the yard.  If you don’t have a golf cart get in the car and drive down some country scenic roads.  The bouncing and movement will help satisfy the need for motion in your loved one.
  2. Get outside.  The light of the outdoors is helpful to the brain in adjusting the circadian rhythm.  First thing in the morning help your loved one transition to the day with natural, outdoor light.  At night when sundowning hits or even a little before, take your loved one outside to eat or do some other activity.  Being in the light will help reduce the intensity of the jitters.
    Bach's Rescue Remedy
  3. Natural supplements have helped my loved one.  There are two over-the-counter supplements that have been beneficial for us.  DISCLAIMER:  This is NOT medical advice or suggestion.  It is imperative to check with your doctor as medicines interact or might not be the right fit for your loved one.  I am only sharing what I personally have found helpful.  One supplement that has helped  is Bach’s Rescue Remedy.  It is low cost, works quickly to help bring calm and is only 4 drops under the tongue.  The downside is that it is 27% alcohol and does seem to have side affects 4-5 hours later.  The other is Fields of Flowers which is alcohol free.  It is slower working but has barely noticeable side effects.
    Energetix Fields of Flowers
  4. Provide a calm environment.  Stress will greatly agitate sundowning.  Stress can come from difficult relationships, clutter in the room, lack of sticking to a schedule, hunger or even dehydration.  Take the initiative as the caregiver to reduce the stressful influences.

Sundowning can be a daily part of the caregiver and loved one’s healthy journey.  While there still remains much research in to understanding sundowning, we can take measures to reduce the effects.  This helps not only our loved ones but also helps reduce the stress in the caregiver.