Alzheimer Symptoms in Elderly: Restless at Night
My father has Alzheimer's and lives with us full-time.
We have a paid caregiver during the day while we work but family is home with him at night.
He gets very agitated late in the day. Are these normal Alzheimer symptoms in elderly?REPLY from Caring-for-Aging-Parents.com:
Some people with diseases such as Alzheimers, that affect their memory, can get restless or agitated later in the day. This is often referred to as "sundowning".
Restlessness or agitation may be in the form of mood swings, increased abnormal suspicious or demanding behaviour, becoming upset or disorientated or even seeing or hearing things that are not there.
The cause for sundowning is unknown, though there are a number of theories.
Some suggestions for dealing with the effects of sundowning are:
- try to keep your loved one busy during the day, a walk outside may help to keep your dad's body attuned to the time of day
- try to follow a familiar routine that your father was used to prior to having dementia; both daily routine and evening routine, such as helping to prepare dinner
- you can try a posted daily schedule for him to refer to
- provide comfort but don't argue or try to reason with him
- don't take accusations personally
- distract him with a meaningful activity
- calm him with music or touch or other sounds he is used to having in the background (ie, TV or fan). You can also try a white noise machine to see if this will help.
- look for a pattern and attempt to be with your father at the time he becomes restless or have someone else be with him
- if the behaviour does not bother you, do nothing
- distract the person with simple activities (ex. folding laundry, polishing the furniture/shoes, knitting, etc.)
- redirect/change the subject
- stay calm, be soothing
- do not judge or scold
- provide affection
- look for unrelated needs (Does he need to use the toilet? Is he lonely or bored? Is he too hot or cold?)
- provide privacy
For more information about spending quality time with loved ones with dementia or how to have better communication with loved ones with dementia:
If anyone else has any suggestions that have been helpful in dealing with their loved ones with sundowning, please share them here.
Thank you for your question,