Experts warn to take extra care of the elderly when the clocks go back this Sunday

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With the days becoming shorter, and the clocks going back on Sunday, more and more people are likely to experience the winter blues, known as Seasonal Affective Disorder ‘SAD’, during the autumn and winter months. SAD affects more than 2 million people in the UK, and usually peaks during the winter months, when we have little exposure to sunlight.  

While most people are aware of Seasonal Affective Disorder, elderly care experts warn that another issue, referred to as ‘Sundowning syndrome’, could affect the elderly this winter, particularly those with Dementia.  

Research shows that up to 1 out of 5 people with Alzheimer’s get sundown syndrome, but it can also happen to older people who don’t have dementia. 

According to the Alzheimer’s Society, Sundowning Syndrome typically relates to when people with Dementia sometimes behave in ways that are “difficult to understand” in the late afternoon or evening as the day draws to a close. Symptoms of Sundowning syndrome include anxiety, disorientation or confusion, agitation and restlessness, resulting in people potentially acting out of character.  

With the clocks going back on Sunday, and the mornings and evenings set to be the darkest yet this year, Claire Baker, an elderly care expert from TakingCare Personal Alarms has shared some advice on how to support the elderly this winter: 

“It’s important to check up on your loved ones as we approach the winter period, and with the clocks going back on Sunday, elderly people may start to experience the winter blues. 

“If you’re concerned that an older person may be experiencing Sundowning syndrome or Seasonal Affective Disorder, there are steps that can be taken to help support them through the darker seasons. 

“Sundowning syndrome can be particularly tricky to handle, and often out of the ordinary behaviour could be relating to a person struggling to convey a certain need. It can often be triggered by over stimulation, often leaving people feeling agitated or uncomfortable. Where this is the case, distraction tactics can work, encouraging them to talk about something calming such as a happy memory or a favourite TV show or book.  

“Seasonal Affective Disorder can be tackles by following steps such as increasing light exposure by opening blinds and curtains, getting outdoors and soaking up Vitamin D and aiming to spend time in the brightest rooms in your home can all be simple ways to lift your mood.  

“Regular physical activity is a proven way of reducing sleep and anxiety which also positively impacts sleep cycles and quality. Getting outdoors – even just for a walk to the shops or for a coffee – is great for your mood and also offers the opportunity to socialise.  

“Ultimately, if you have growing concerns about an older person, don’t hesitate to seek further assistance from medical professional who can provide advice and guidance on how they should be supported. 

“Older people need increased support during the winter months, so it’s important to ensure they are coping okay as the colder weather approaches to protect their physical and mental wellbeing.”  

For more advice on supporting our elderly population this winter, visit the TakingCare Personal Alarms online resource hub

The post Experts warn to take extra care of the elderly when the clocks go back this Sunday appeared first on Wellbeing Magazine.

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