How Season Changes Affect Dementia Patients

Dementia causes one to experience significant memory loss and reduced cognitive functions. A person living with dementia can feel lost in their everyday world. While everyone feels a little disoriented when the seasons finally change, it can be pretty challenging for a person with dementia to adjust to the changes.

At Dellwood Gardens in Saint Paul, MN, we strive to offer compassionate care for all of our patients. Since the season changes may negatively impact a dementia patient, we believe it’s essential to understand what patients may be experiencing during this time.


The Sundowning Phenomenon

The most significant changes come when the fall season ushers in winter. The days become shorter, and the temperature drops remarkably. It is usual for someone to experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD). For dementia patients, they experience sundowning, which can affect their mood and behaviors.

As a caregiver, you can look out for symptoms of sundowning in a patient to take care of them adequately. Increased irritability, confusion, and pacing or wandering are the most common symptoms of sundowning.

Fortunately, the symptoms are manageable either at home or in a controlled facility like Dellwood Gardens. There are some things that you can do during this sensitive time, including:

  • Support good sleep habits. Ensuring a dementia patient gets enough rest is helpful to their mood.
  • Avoid offering patients too much coffee as it may irritate them further.
  • Infections, such as UTIs or sinuses issues, should be treated urgently if any are present.
  • Avoid poor lighting around the residence since shadows increase irritability in a dementia patient.


Supporting Dementia Patients Who Experience Sundowning

The good news is that the sundowning syndrome is temporary as it vanishes when spring begins. You can make the time more bearable for yourself or your loved ones in several ways. It is essential to stick to a routine. If the patient goes to bed at 8 p.m., they should continue to do so year-round.

Also, you can ensure the patient gets as much daylight as possible. For dementia patients, staying in an open space improves their sleep quality. Since the temperatures may be low, you can take measures to make sure that they remain warm as they get fresh air.

At our organization, we offer current therapies that support dementia patients. Treatments such as music, art, and pet companionship come highly recommended. Offering spiritual support is also a great way to manage sundowning for dementia patients.

For residents of Dellwood Gardens, you can visit us for affordable, compassionate care for you or your loved ones. Our caring staff is ready to help. Contact us today to learn more about our healthcare services.

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