Sundowner Syndrome In Persons With Dementia An Update: Behavioral Strategies & Methodologies
Aging Care/Geriatrics specialists refer to the challenging behaviors seen in dementia as behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD). It is estimated that up to 90% of patients with Alzheimer’s disease exhibit at least one BPSD and about one-third have severe behavioral problems (Liperoti et al., 2008). Challenging behaviors also occur in other types of dementia and some may differ depending on the type of dementia.
The best way to deal with a Alzheimer/Dementia Patient, experiencing Sundowner’s Syndrome is through behavior management strategies. That said, Behavior management in Alzheimer’s disease patients can pose many challenges for the caregiver, particularly as the disease progresses.
Any strategy worth pursuing, will include an ABC of guidelines.
- Antecedent—what precipitated or caused the behavior?
- Behavior—what is the behavior?
- Consequence—what are the consequences of the behavior?
Antecedent: What Is The Underlying Cause Behind Sundowner Syndrome
Persons with with dementia and/or Alzheimer’s who “sundown” get confused and agitated as the sun goes down — and sometimes throughout the night. While the cause is not known, it is estimated that roughly 20% of those suffering Alzheimer’s, experience Sundowning.
Signs And Symptoms of SunDowner Syndrome
The internal clock is controlled by the circadian rhythms. It is thought that their is an association between sundown syndrome and, changes in this internal biological clock in people with dementia. Circadian rhythms control sleeping and waking, is connected to how active we are at different times of the day, and influences changes in the body that regulate behavior. Studies suggest that the biological clock shifts in people with dementia, and that this shift may make some people with dementia more prone to sundown syndrome.
Behaviors Associated With Sun-Downing
- Combative Behavior
- Disruptive Behavior e.g., yelling and banging on doors
Consequences: Treatment of Sundowner Syndrome
How you deal with Sundowner Syndrome is the key to success. First you must know that Sundowning is common to the middle phase of Alzheimer’s. The good news is that their will be improvement with time. At Mountain View Centers, we are well equipped and comprehensively trained on how to deal with behavioral issues associated with dementia/alzheimer’s.
- Be patient
- Maintain a consistent schedule.
- Light the room where the person sleep and other areas with LED lights that mimic sun
- Where possible, and applicable limit naps
- Maintain a good diet – fruits and vegetables, low on starches, good proteins e.g., milk and good fats such as coconut oil are very brain protective.
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