Dementia is a complex condition with symptoms that come and go. Sometimes seniors may seem like their old selves, yet at other times they cannot remember their loved ones’ names or do basic tasks on their own. There are several factors that can cause dementia symptoms to seem worse. Understanding why dementia gets more severe at certain times can help caregivers better care for seniors with dementia.
1. Decreasing Sunlight
In a process called “sundowning,” many seniors with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia experience their most severe symptoms as the sun starts to set. This seems to happen mostly due to the way dementia affects a senior’s biological clock. Some caregivers find shutting curtains before the sun starts to go down and turning up indoor lights can help with the symptoms.
2. Health Problems
Any sort of physical health problem tends to make dementia worse because seniors often have difficulty functioning when their bodies are focused on trying to recover from an illness. Therefore, it’s important to visit the doctor if you notice a sudden marked increase in dementia symptoms. One of the most common culprits is a urinary tract infection, which often increases confusion.
Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.
Dementia typically makes it more difficult for a senior to multitask. The brain can only handle so many things at once, so when their surroundings are very busy, seniors might face difficulty with social interactions or executive functions. For example, a senior with dementia might find it difficult to carry on a conversation while a television is playing in the room.
Just like anyone else, seniors with dementia find it challenging to focus or manage stress when they’re tired. Due to dementia-related changes in the brain, many seniors can no longer sleep through the night. Instead, they may do better with frequent naps. Some seniors may benefit from having a nap in the morning or afternoon so they can be alert enough to face the challenges of dementia.
A professional caregiver trained in dementia care can be a fantastic source of support for you and your loved one. Families looking for top-rated Lehigh Valley senior care providers can reach out to Home Care Assistance. From respite care to specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care, there are many ways we can make life easier for seniors and their loved ones.
5. Unfamiliar Surroundings
Most seniors with dementia exhibit fewer symptoms when they’re in familiar environments. Since the brain is more likely to remember information it has encountered several times, being in areas where seniors are used to caring for themselves and interacting with others can encourage them to follow old routines and stay calm.
6. Certain Medications
There are all sorts of medications that can cause fatigue, confusion, and mental fogginess, and these can greatly impact dementia symptoms. Some of the most common culprits are anticholinergic medications and steroids, which is why it’s very important to discuss side effects with the doctor whenever he or she prescribes a new medication for your loved one.
Dementia can be challenging for seniors to manage, but they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional dementia care. Lehigh Valley seniors can benefit greatly from the Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM), an activities-based program designed to promote cognitive health and delay the onset of dementia. CTM is included at no additional charge with any of the in-home care plans provided by Home Care Assistance. Schedule a free in-home consultation by giving us a call today at 484-350-3874.