What is it?
Experts do not really know. It is a syndrome that family members spot in the evening. Common emotional and psychosocial symptoms include
- rapid mood changes, confusion, frustration, anger, crying, depression, stubbornness, fearfulness, hallucinations, paranoia and agitation.
- pacing, restlessness, violence, wandering, rocking, hiding things, phoning adult children, friends or even strangers!
I would suggest that those who make a connection between S.S. & dementia are not really in the right ballpark. While plaque build up diminishes the normal brain functioning, and diminishes inhibitions and reduces the normal social nicities, I think it is more a social problem than a biological one. Perhaps it is a chicken vs. egg problem. Does the depression come first, or the aging process, or biology.
Many of our ailing seniors have sleep issues, and this is a time of day when they might worry about getting to sleep.
When I looked back at my life, now that I am retired, I took such pleasure, and gave myself rewards for making it to Friday! This is not true of those who do not work 9 - 5:00, with weekends off, but it is a principle. In my current situation, retired, and writing a book, weekends and weekdays are much the same.
When I think of our seniors, this is the same for them. Every day is now the same. There is no reason, once light levels diminish and the day is over, not to spoil oneself with, perhaps, another glass of wine. There is no reason to stop after a couple. For some adult children they find that their parents have an addiction problem in the evenings. It is a symptom of which to be aware.
Firstly, examine the patterns of behaviour. We kept a sign-in log, since we were not at Dad's retirement home all the time and needed some clues as to the timing of his behaviour and symptoms, as well as the possible triggers. Keeping track of behaviour gives medical practitioners some clues.
In my father's case, he had a brain tumour and dementia, we hired a caregiver to sit with him around 7:30 every night. It helped him.
If you cannot afford this, or your parent lives with you, you simply have to realize that they are
Our caregiver would give Dad a foot massage, or help him tidy his room, or watch TV with him. It made such a difference to the staff, as they could carry out the normal functioning of their evening routines. This was the time the nurse delivered drugs to the residents, and they could not be juggling Dad's needs. The frantic phone calls ceased, as Dad didn't feel the need to call us every day at this time.
Many recommend drugging these seniors, but this seems so ridiculous. Certainly, a medical check would be the first step, just in case there is an organic cause. Ruling out delirium is crucial, too.
They bear watching, especially if they wander, but the agitation might be a normal part of other physical symptoms. Speak to your doctor.
I hope this helps.
A new study"
COLUMBUS, Ohio – New research provides the best evidence to date that the late-day anxiety and agitation sometimes seen in older institutionalized adults, especially those with dementia, has a biological basis in the brain.