Community Blog

The Emotional Roller Coaster of Alzheimer’s, Dementia & Sundowners

By Debbie Humphrey

Over the last five years, I have had the daunting task of being a caregiver for three seniors living with Dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and Sundowners. Each individual was very special to me in their own way, and each was at a different stage of decline based on the condition that plagued their brain. However, one thing remained the same for all three: the emotional roller coaster of Alzheimer’s, Dementia and Sundowners that was encountered nearly every day.

Alzheimer’s Reading Room describes the incredibly subtle differences between Alzheimer’s Disease, Dementia and Sundown Syndrome:

  • Alzheimer’s is the most common cause or form of Dementia. Alzheimer’s accounts for up to 70% of all Dementia cases. This disease affects behavior, memory, thinking, judgment and concentration, and inevitably results in the loss of ability to perform activities of daily living, feelings of frustration, moodiness, restlessness and even meanness.
  • Dementia is a syndrome characterized by a group of symptoms that occur as a result of Alzheimer’s Disease. It is not a normal part of aging. Symptoms include a loss of cognitive functioning—thinking, remembering, and reasoning, enough to interfere with activities of daily living. “Dementia has physical, psychological, social and economical impact on caregivers, families and society. (Source World Health Organization)”
  • Sundown Syndrome occurs in 1 out of 7 individuals with Alzheimer’s. As the day progresses and the sun begins to go down, behaviors change, moods swing, and confusion sets in. Agitation, irritability, paranoia, sadness, anger and frustration can all rear their ugly heads.

I share this information because no matter if it’s the disease or a syndrome, they all affect a person’s ability to control their own thoughts, behaviors and emotions. This often causes enormous stress on caregivers and family members who see to the needs of the sufferer.

Emotions of all kinds run high for everyone involved in cases of Alzheimer’s, Dementia and Sundowners. That being said, it requires patience, understanding and compassion when the emotional roller coaster is running full speed ahead or on a runaway collision course.

I know from personal experience how physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting it is to provide care to a loved one who is unaware of their own mental and physical decline. The sufferer is not to blame for their actions, because they have no control over them. As you and I can consciously monitor our moods and behaviors and effectively change them, those with deteriorating minds cannot.

To provide the most effective method of home care services for your family’s unique situation, Home Helpers dementia caregivers receive specialized training and are highly experienced in dementia care; in fact, many are certified in Alzheimer’s care through our partnership with the National Certification Board for Alzheimer Care (NCBAC).

I want to emphasize that October is Emotional Wellness Month. If you have a friend, family member, or loved one who is a caregiver for a senior with Alzheimer’s Disease, Dementia, or Sundown Syndrome; battling the emotional roller coaster, in need of respite, or in search of the next level of specialized care, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

Home Helpers® proudly serves patients with Alzheimer’s disease, Dementia, and Sundowners in Clearwater, Dunedin, Palm Harbor, Safety Harbor, Tarpon Springs, Holiday, New Port Richey, Trinity, Port Richey, Hudson and surrounding areas. Contact us today to learn more about all the ways our compassionate caregivers can assist through Home Helpers®. We are Making Life Easier℠. 727-942-2539


Alzheimer’s Reading Room

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