Daylight Savings Time and Alzheimer's

November 4, 2017

 

Did you know that Daylight Savings time effects someone with Alzheimer's Disease? We all look forward to that extra hour of sleep however, caregivers probably won't feel the same way. Your "body clock" is affected by the earth cues like sunlight and temperature. When this changes this can have a negative effect on someone with Alzheimer's causing them to become confused.

 

When the clock changes you must deal with both the change of weather and when the sun rises and sets. When you’re on a strict schedule this has the potential of causing the individual with Alzheimer’s difficulty adjusting.

 

There are some things that you would notice that your loved one is display the effects of Daylight Savings Time?

 

·        Signs of confusion in the evening when the sun is setting

·        Disruption in sleeping patterns

·        Going to bed sooner

·        Hungry earlier than normal

·        Overwhelmed or exhausted

 

Those who have experienced Sundowners in the past may show even more confusion and agitation during this time change

 

This is what you can do to help my loved one adjust to the time change?

·        Try to expose them to as much daylight as possible

·        Occupy the person with memory loss (preferably with something fun) while the sun is setting.

·        Keep the home well-lit after dark

·        Be aware of shadows from the change in light – how the sunlight shines in your home in spring and fall is different than how it enters your home in the summer.

·        Maintain their sleep schedule as close as possible

·        Be aware of routine times before the time change and adjust slightly for a few days. (Example: Meal time used to be at 5pm, with a daylight change back 1 hour, the body will likely be hungry around  Adjust the meal slightly by 10-15 minutes or so until you are back to meal time of 5 pm.)

·        Bathroom routines are also affected by the time change. Adjust bathroom visits accordingly.

·        Stay away from sleep disrupters like caffeine, alcohol, naps or over the counter sleeping aids especially the days surrounding daylight savings time.

·        Keep evening routines on schedule. Adjust the timing slightly for a few days (just like the meal example above) to help get back on track.

 

Most importantly, be patient. Remember that it takes average adults several days for the body and mind to adjust to the changes from daylight savings. Being aware of your loved one’s challenges with the change and taking care of yourself will help everyone adjust to the change quicker.

 

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