Shorter Days and Sundowning

activities caregiving tips dementia care family caregiver Nov 22, 2022

November 6, 2022, marked the end of Daylight Saving Time.

Believe it or not…the correct term is Daylight Saving…not Daylight Savings.

Who knew?

Anyway, if you’re reading this article, you’ve likely been experiencing this change for at least half a century.

But, if you’re like us, it still throws you for a loop.

You know what to expect.

But, watching the sun set at 5:30 pm is a bit of a downer (pun intended).

Not only are you forced to spend more time indoors, but the lack of sunlight can also leave you feeling moody and sluggish.

The good news is there are ways to mitigate these negative effects.

One of the best things you can do is to schedule at least 30 minutes outdoors, every day during daylight hours.

If you’re thinking to yourself, “It’s too cold to be outdoors” …

Consider adopting this mindset shared by British adventurer and writer, Ranulph Fienness.

“There’s no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.”

You can’t argue with that…it might not be ideal, but the benefits far outweigh the negative effects of staying indoors all day.

So, bundle up and get your daily dose of mood boosting sunshine.

Even if you break it up, you’ll still benefit from the time outdoors.

If you’re caring for a loved one living with dementia, they can also experience negative effects from the time change.

It’s not uncommon to notice worsened sundowning (agitation, aggression or confusion in the late afternoon or early evening).

To help negate these changes, do the same for them...

Make the most out of natural sunlight by going for a walk together.

If walking is difficult or dangerous, sit by the patio doors and enjoy the natural light for a while.

We also recommend turning off the television and connecting through an activity or experience.

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During the late afternoon, it can also help to play relaxing music.

And finally, try your best not to disrupt their daily routine; it can cause confusion and frustration.

The time change you can’t control…

But, you can control how you respond to it.

Making proactive changes to your daily routine will help see you through.


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