Sometimes, an individual with Alzheimer’s or dementia experiences increased confusion, anxiety, agitation and disorientation starting at sunset which continues late into the night. This is commonly referred as ‘sundowning’, a syndrome that affects the body’s sleep-wake cycle (monitored by the body’s biological internal clock). The circadian clock monitors sleep/wake hours, metabolism, digestion, hormonal cycles and other physiological patterns based on darkness and light. But there are no definitive proofs supporting the role of circadian clocks in aggressive behavior.
Caregivers must be alert and cautious in the late afternoon and early evening for any signs/symptoms of sundowning such as yelling, anxiety, pacing back and forth or wandering. When the individual shouts or shows signs of fear, try talking to the person calmly and reassure him/her that everything is normal. Try these tips to soothe the person:
AVOID FRAUD. EAT SMART.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.