A Caregiver’s Story…. Flashback Installment #2 Good Days and Bad Nights

Today was a good day. Mom had energy, she was talkative and ate pretty well too. We spent a couple hours sitting in her bed watching TV and talking. It was nice having my cognitive pleasant mother around for the afternoon. The afternoon left me hopeful that the evening might be nice too. But then came the time to draw the shades. Thirty minutes later sick grumpy mom returned.

Moms Jekyll and Hyde switch has a name.  It’s called Sundown Syndrome. Typically Sundowners hits people who have dementia but can affect anyone. The very first time I encountered it, mom was in the hospital.  I noticed, in the evening, that mom was confused and out of it. I told the nurse my concerns and she told me that it sometimes happens to people in the hospital.

Sundowners affects mom in such a way that her symptoms amp up. Her breathing becomes labored and thus elevates her anxiety.  Her cognitive levels drop so communication isn’t as fluid as in daylight hours. She is easily confused and is easily agitated. I can’t pinpoint all the differences in her behavior, let’s just say, everything goes wonky at night.


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