Handling the End of Daylight Saving Time
When Daylight Saving Time ends, and we return to standard time, it’s a struggle for everyone as we try to adjust to earlier sunsets and earlier sunrises and less sunlight overall. It can be quite disorienting.
The Benefit of Routines
Anyone who thrives on routine will see their daily schedules be disrupted. With in-home caregiving, it is no different. Planning not only helps caregivers, but it helps elders to maintain their independence in a stable manner. As we grow older, we rely on the stability of our routines more and more. So switching to standard time can be disruptive.
Although there is the perceived benefit of getting that hour back that we gave up, for those who are suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s, this switch back can increase the symptoms of sundowning. Also known as late-day confusion, people with this condition will become more confused and agitated in the late afternoon and evening. Usually this occurs with people have mid-stage to advanced dementia.
Making Some Adjustments
To help older people who experience sundowning, planning can help reduce this condition. Seniors can be eased into standard time before Daylight Saving Time ends by incrementally adjusting one’s routine along with the daylight hours.
Another way to help an older loved one’s circadian rhythms ease into standard time is to add small naps or some quiet time for several days after the switch is made.
Yet another method can be the use of medication or dietary supplements. Since seniors are usually taking some sort of medication already, it’s imperative that you consult with his or her doctor before adding any new medications or supplements to their regimen.
Studies have shown that light therapy can help with sundowning symptoms and adjusting one’s circadian rhythms. This involves using a full-spectrum fluorescent light about three feet away from your loved one for a couple of hours every morning. The Alzheimer’s Association also suggests to brighten the lights in the home whenever an elder is feeling agitated or confused. Light therapy can also help with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
Keeping active during the day is another way to help reduce the symptoms of sundowning. One trigger for late-day confusion is fatigue. Then if there’s too much sleeping or dozing during the day, then that can result in having trouble falling asleep when it’s bedtime. A walk in the park or cleaning some space in the home to dance are two examples of activities that can improve sleep quality as well as boost their physical health.
Other methods for adjusting to standard time include adjusting eating patterns (e.g., no heavy meals in the evening), reducing stress, making sure he or she feels comfortable and safe (e.g., a favorite shawl or blanket, family pictures), monitoring behavior, and finally–making sure that you as a caregiver are taking care of yourself.
Our Phoenix home health care professionals can assist you with more advice or any questions you may have about home health care. For more information about MD Home Health, our services, experience, or rates, please call (602) 396-5742 or fill out our contact form. We look forward to hearing from you.