The term “sundowning,” or sundowners syndrome in the elderly, isn’t a disease or condition of itself—instead it is symptomatic of age-related diseases, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Essentially, senior sundown syndrome is a general state of confusion. Because the person is confused and disoriented, there are serious safety concerns when an elderly person may be experiencing the condition. Read on to learn more about distorted depth perception and sundowning in the elderly and how to help keep your loved one safe if they’re experiencing the symptoms.
Sundowning in the Elderly: What Is Sundowners in Seniors?
If you’re wondering, what is sundowning in dementia?, it is a group of symptoms that are a state of confusion in an older person with dementia or Alzeheimer’s disease. If another question is, what causes sundowning in the elderly?, the answer is unknown. Doctors and researchers aren’t sure why sundowners in seniors affect some dementia patients but not others. The condition usually has an onset simultaneously every day, usually in the late afternoon or evening. Factors that may affect the severity of sundowning in the elderly include:
- Increased shadows
- Low lighting
- Disruption of the body’s circadian rhythm
To help reduce sundowning:
- Try to stick to the same routine every day, and make sure that your loved one or the person you’re caring for has a lot of light exposure during the day.
- As the day progresses, try to reduce background noise, such as music or television. You may want to play relaxing music or sounds instead.
- Limit caffeine and sugar to early daytime only, as this can aggravate sundowning in the elderly.
- For safety purposes, consider installing products, such as threshold ramps, when your loved one is experiencing sundowning. If the home is more navigable during states of confusion, it provides more safety for your loved one.
Sundowning in the Elderly: What Is the Most Common Vision Problem in the Elderly?
Vision problems in older adults are very common, and a change in depth perception can occur with sundowning in the elderly. If you’re curious what causes depth perception to be off or what causes loss of depth perception, oftentimes, it is when seniors try to walk with multifocal or bifocal lenses. Poor depth perception can result in falls and accidents and is another good reason to install threshold ramps and other safety measures. Sometimes sundowning in the elderly or poor depth perception can be hard to diagnose, so if you’re wondering if your loved one may be experiencing it, some common signs of poor depth perception include:
- Sudden changes in reading fluency
- Clumsiness or poor spatial awareness
- Difficulty with coordination
- Avoidance of reading
In addition to installing safety measures, particularly if the person you’re caring for is aging in place, it’s wise to have your loved one examined by an eye doctor for a checkup on their eye health.
To learn more about sundowning in the elderly and mobility products that can be life-changing, such as threshold and wheelchair ramps or stairlifts. Contact us at Williams Lift Co. today.
We want both caregivers and their loved ones to live their best lives.