For most of us, Summer is a special time of year. When we were school age, it was a time free from school, spending seemingly endless time with our friends with no responsibility. However, as we age, Summer creates different memories and different meanings.
Those individuals facing memory loss as a result of Dementia or Alzheimer’s diseases, the long summer days mean more hours in an unfamiliar world. Supporting and caring for a loved one facing these challenges is hard to navigate. Sifting through the misinformation online and finding the best, hope-filled resources takes time.
For many living with memory loss diseases, late afternoon and evenings are a particularly challenging time, and they may experience sundowning - a term given when daylight fades, restlessness, irritation, and confusion set in. While the actual cause of sundowning is not yet clear, the common belief is that Alzheimer’s changes an individual’s brain and affects the internal clock, confusing the sleep-wake cycles. Caregivers must identify triggers, promote peace and encourage regular routines. The natural time changes throughout the year impact these routines and a sense of normalcy - especially as the summer waxes, the longer daylight hours could mean less sleep and greater chances for overstimulation and occurrences of sundowning.
Tuesday, June 21st, is the longest day of the year, known as the Summer solstice and ‘The Longest Day' as deemed by The Alzheimer’s Association. ‘The Longest Day’ encourages people worldwide to connect and outshine the darkness of Alzheimer’s Disease and brings awareness to the trials associated with the cognitive and environmental challenges faced by those with Alzheimer’s.
Harmony Senior Services Reflections program is one of the ways that Harmony shines a light on the value of Art and Music therapy in caring for individuals with Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. Art and Music combine to create opportunities for residents to experience enhanced communication and self-expression. Harmony's Reflections emphasizes the importance of individualized care based on each resident’s life story by partnering with the resident’s family. This partnership allows our Harmony family to provide the most enhanced and personalized care plan for every resident.
To partner with The Alzheimer Association to fight the darkness of Alzheimer's go to thealzheimersassiocation.com and follow #endALZ, and #thelongestday on Facebook and Instagram
Sources Used in this blog
Tips for Coping with Sundowning | National Institute on Aging