Dr Tim Beanland, the Head of Knowledge at Alzheimer’s Society, issued words of advice for the end of British Summer Time.
“For the majority of people, the annual daylight-saving clock change is simply met with a light-hearted shrug,” said Dr Beanland.
Known as “sundowning”, changes in behaviour might occur in people who have moderate to severe dementia as the day draws to a close.
The Alzheimer’s Society pointed out that during this time people who have dementia might become intensely distressed, agitated and suffer from hallucinations.
A disturbance to the person’s body clock could be a contributing factor to sundowning.
Thus, as we soon re-enter Greenwich Mean Time, here are three tips to make the move more easy on those who live with the brain disorder.
Make a routine
A set routine during the day and at bedtime can help to regulate a person’s disrupted body clock.
Doing the same activities at the same time everyday, such as going for a walk after breakfast, could help the person with dementia make sense of the time.
Going outside during daylight hours
Going outside, when possible, to experience daylight could be beneficial in regulating a person’s body clock.
This could help a person feel more sleepy when it is dark outside.
Day and night clocks
The Alzheimer’s Society offers various day and night clocks that include simple visual clues that help a person determine whether it’s night or daytime.
Different causes of sundowning
It’s possible that a range of different causes, from unmet physical needs to side effects of medication, could contribute to sundowning.
The charity says triggers could include:
- Tiredness, hunger, pain or other unmet physical needs
- Not enough exposure to sunlight during the day
- Overstimulation during the day, such as from a noisy or busy environment
- Disturbance to the person’s ‘body clock’ caused by damage to the brain
- Disturbed levels of hormones that vary over the course of the day
- Sensory impairment, such as hearing or sight loss
- Tiredness in other people causing the person with dementia to become upset
- Mood disorders, such as anxiety or depression
- Side effects of prescribed drugs.
Dementia can be a heartbreaking disease for the person who has the condition and for family and friends.
Dr Beanland said: “Too many people face dementia alone. We want everyone affected by dementia to know that whoever you are, whatever you’re going through, you can turn to the Alzheimer’s Society for practical advice, emotional support, and guidance for the best next step.”
You can also call the Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Connect support line on 0333 150 3456.
Source: | This article first appeared on Express.co.uk