Posts Tagged ‘Princeton NJ memory care’

What is Sundowning?

December 5th, 2017 No Comments


Many who care for those with Alzheimer’s or other related dementia agree that symptoms get worse in the late afternoon and early evening–the time just before and after the sun goes down. This neurological phenomenon has been named Sundown Syndrome and is often called “sundowning.” Sundowning is the increased state of confusion or agitation that many people with memory issues experience as the day’s natural light fades.

Increased shadows, darkness, and changing ambiance can cause confusion and distress in people who have Alzheimer’s and dementia. This stress and agitation can, in turn, be frightening and/or confusing for loved ones who don’t understand why their loved one is behaving in certain ways at certain times of the day.

The more you know and understand about Sundowning, the more you can help your loved one when and if these symptoms occur.

Symptoms of Sundowning

Symptoms of this condition are associated with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia and may include:

  • Increased confusion as natural light begins to fade
  • Increased mood swings
  • Increased agitation
  • Decrease in energy; lethargy
  • Increased stress or visible worry
  • Increased tremors or shaking
  • Increased hostility or aggression
  • Increased disorientation

People who have dementia and who suffer from Sundowning Syndrome may pace nervously or behave in an odd manner. They may display visible signs of worry such as crying or mumbling to themselves. Dealing with these symptoms can be confusing and frustrating, but there are ways to lessen their severity and make your loved one more comfortable during the toughest part of their day.

How Can You Help?

There are a few ways your help your loved one with dementia make an easier transition from daytime to nighttime.

  • Keep the home well-lit
  • Minimize shadows, especially in rooms your loved one spends the most time in
  • Encourage activity during the day
  • Ensure a regular eating and exercise schedule
  • Consider hiring a professional home health aide who specializes in memory care to provide extra support for your loved one and yourself

For those who have dementia and Alzheimer’s, a specialized caregiving routine can ease symptoms and help them feel more comfortable, no matter the time of day.

Contact Visiting Angels today to learn more about our certified home health aides and how we can help your loved one live more independently at home.

Celebrating Alzheimer’s Caregivers During Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

November 9th, 2017 No Comments

 Alzheimer's Awareness Month

November is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, and it’s an ideal time to celebrate the caregivers who care for those living with this disease—family caregivers as well as professional caregivers. Since President Reagan’s 1983 declaration of National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness month, more cities are recognizing the importance of awareness and extending proclamations to recognize Alzheimer’s caregivers, too.

Caring for someone who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease can be difficult, draining, challenging, and rewarding. These hard-working caregivers do much to improve the lives of those with Alzeimer’s—so it’s important to show gratitude and appreciation.

Alzheimer’s caregivers benefit from having an understanding of sensory stimulation and how to engage Alzheimer’s patients. Alzheimer’s caregiving also involves enhancing the safety of patients’ living areas by placing safety measures, such as exit alarms and signs on doors to prevent wandering, for example.

Ways to recognize and celebrate the Alzheimer’s caregivers in your life during Alzheimer’s Awareness Month.

Encourage Rest for Alzheimer’s Caregivers

Those who have Alzheimer’s often have inconsistent sleep patterns. That means they can be up and active during any time of the night.

These inconsistencies in sleep interrupt the circadian rhythms of not only the person who has Alzheimer’s, but the caregiver as well, since they are the ones getting up with their loved one. Providing proper care to individuals with Alzheimer’s can be demanding–and requires adequate rest. You can show your appreciation for Alzheimer’s caregivers by encouraging rest. It can be as grand as a gesture as buying a spa package or as simple as creating a “sleep care kit.”

Some items you can pack in a sleep care kit:

  • Sleeping mask
  • Calming chamomile or cool mint tea packets
  • Essential oils, including lavender and eucalyptus oil
  • Bath slippers

Any of these relaxation items will help relieve stress and increase one’s sense of well-being.

Recognize and Reward Alzheimer’s Caregivers

There’s nothing like showing appreciation for Alzheimer’s caregivers by simply recognizing them. Sometimes a simple “thank you” goes a long way when it comes to showing appreciation. Say thank you by rewarding caregivers with de-stressing activities that can help them to relax, such as a yoga session or a massage appointment.

Volunteer to Help Alzheimer’s Caregivers

Do you know a family member, neighbor, or friend who is caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or other form of dementia? Why not offer to cover them for even an hour or two so they can meet a friend for lunch or simply take a nap in the other room? They need to take time to recharge.

Taking time to volunteer at a memory care facility is another way to show appreciation. You can help host a lunch for the caregivers, help arrange an awards ceremony, or help orchestrate a special performance for the center.

Final Thoughts

Take the time to recognize Alzheimer’s caregivers this November and show your appreciation.

If you need help caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or other form of dementia, you don’t have to do it on your own. Contact a professional team with years of memory care experience, such as Visiting Angels.

Visiting Angels serves New Jersey families in Burlington and Mercer Counties.

Visit our Help for Family Caregivers page for additional resources.


How Does Alzheimer’s Disease Affect the Body and the Brain?

June 12th, 2017 No Comments

June is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month.

Each year, the Alzheimer’s Association urges Americans to become familiar with the risks and symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia, and to become involved in the effort to raise awareness for this deadly disease, which kills more people than both breast and prostate cancer combined.

How Does Alzheimer’s Disease Affect the Brain?

Although it is often mistakenly attributed to the aging process and memory loss, Alzheimer’s is a degenerative disease that targets healthy brain and nerve tissue, eventually leading to cell death and brain shrinkage over time. As the disease progresses it begins to impact cognitive function, impairing the ability to think and process memories.

How Does Alzheimer’s Disease Affect the Body?

As it neural function declines, it also begins to impair the brain’s ability to regulate motor skills and physical activities. The earlier stages generally affect cognition and memory, but over time the damage spreads to the areas of the brain responsible for walking, balance and coordination, and swallowing. It may appear that a person suffering from advanced stage Alzheimer’s Disease may be choosing not to eat, but it can actually become physically impossible for them to do so as the brain loses the ability to effectively communicate with the body.

Treating Alzheimer’s Disease

While there is currently no cure for or way to reverse the disease, researchers are constantly working on developing new medication and treatment options to help reverse cognitive decline and deterioration. Treatment is focused on a comprehensive approach that may include medication to help regulate the neurotransmitters in the brain responsible for healthy brain function, as well as occupational and physical therapy to help patients and their families manage symptoms as they develop, and to help maintain the patient’s quality of life for as long as possible.

After the Diagnosis – Helping a Loved One with Alzheimer’s Disease

The disease affects everyone differently. For most people, maintaining their personal independence for as long as is safely possible is the ultimate goal. The Alzheimer’s Society recommends a number of memory aid strategies, as well as assistive technology and equipment to help make the home or care environment as accessible and safe as possible.

Personal and Home Assistance Care in New Jersey

For more information on the risk factors, warning signs, and care options for a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease, contact us today by calling 609-883-8188 to learn more about our services in Mercer and Burlington counties.