An episode of agitation or aggression can be due to an inability to communicate basic needs. Check to see if your loved one is hungry, thirsty or needs to use the bathroom.
If the time of day marks a particular routine in your loved one’s life, try to mimic what they may have done. Routine activities are comforting. Reading the newspaper at breakfast time or helping to set the table at dinnertime are some examples.
If someone sleeps a lot during the day, they are less tired in the evening. However, a short nap in the early afternoon may be needed.
When memory and cognitive function declines in someone who has dementia, the brain compensates by an increase in emotional reactivity. Mirroring can be helpful in influencing the response of your loved one. In other words, model the behavior and temperment you hope to see in your care partner. For instance, a smile evokes a smile or calm elicits calm.
Calming activities are encouraged that are "failure free". Favorite puzzles or music that is quiet and relaxing. Having a specific task to focus on helps the brain to create new thought patterns.
Since Sundowning reduces light in the environment, it can create disorientation and cause visual distortion. Make sure that you turn on the brightest lights.
Persons with memory loss who don’t have enough to do during the day are more likely to be restless in the evenings.
Try and arrange for visits, trips and activities that require a lot of energy for mornings or early day. Many people who are living with dementia tend to function better during the first half of the day. Set them up for success whenever possible.
Nostalgic TV programs and movies with a light snack can be a good way to relax. Although there is usually much to do for a caregiver, rather than rush about with other tasks, take time and sit with the person you are caring for. It may seem time consuming at first, but if it helps the person get to bed more smoothly, it may save time in the long run.
Avoid stimulants and large dinners late in the day.