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Sundowning, characterized by increased agitation, confusion, and disorientation in individuals with dementia as day transitions into evening, can be challenging for caregivers. However, the three E’s approach – environment, engagement, and empathy – can help manage these behaviors effectively.

Environment plays a crucial role in managing sundowning. Ensure adequate exposure to natural light during the day, gradually adjust lighting in the evening, minimize shadows, and reduce sensory overload. If possible, take your loved one for a stroll outside or move to a different room to reduce feelings of being trapped.

Engagement is key to preventing restlessness and redirecting energy positively. Engage your loved one with simple, enjoyable tasks tailored to their interests and abilities in the late afternoon. Maintain a consistent routine to establish predictability and security, combining environmental and engagement strategies into a set schedule.

Empathy is essential when managing sundowning. Approach your loved one with calmness, validate their feelings, and gently redirect their attention. Remember to have empathy for yourself, as sundowning is common and not a reflection of your caregiving abilities. Reach out to healthcare professionals for advice, join caregiver support groups, and consider respite care services to recharge.

By implementing the three E’s approach – environment, engagement, and empathy – caregivers can effectively manage sundowning in individuals with dementia, providing comfort and reducing evening stress for both the caregiver and their loved one.

 

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Author

scottpalcher@live.com