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9 smart ways to reduce sundowning

sundowningPeople with mid-stage and advanced dementia often follow a pattern: As the day goes on, they get more and more confused and agitated. That’s because new routines, new places and things, can cause stress and anger in people who are biologically very set in their ways.

Technically, this is known as “late-day confusion,” but most folks just call it “sundowning.” And thought there’s no known way to reverse it, there are seven ways to reduce it:

  1. Stick to routine. Following the same exact routine day after day after day can keep elders with dementia in their comfort zones. So once you’ve established a routine that works for both of you, don’t change it unless you really have to. And then, ease in the adjustments and incrementally and gradually as possible.
  2. Let there be light. A Psychiatric Investigation research review suggests that light plays a big role in sundowning. Bright light therapy and melatonin have both been helpful treatments. So keeping the light bright indoors hours before it starts getting dark outdoors could reduce the severity of sundowning or delay its onset.

How to make sure your money lasts as long as you do

making money lastIn theory, it’s very simple: If your retirement income exceeds your expenses, you’re in good shape. In practice, it’s, shall we say, more complicated, with many different approaches. 

Make More

Increasing your income is one broad approach. You can invest some of your savings, but with the ups and downs of the market, making a profit isn’t a sure thing. You could look into annuities, which pay more than the 1% or so that money market funds offer, but that means tying up your principal for years.

If you wait until age 70 to claim Social Security, you’ll get higher monthly benefits. But if you’re in your late 60s and already getting monthly payments, you’ll need a time machine to change that.

You could also see about earning some income with a part-time or full-time job. But while employment has rebounded, the pandemic is still keeping unemployment in the 8% range.

Spend Less

The value of monthly Registered Nurse assessments

rn assessmentIn an effort to ensure good care, Virginia law requires senior care agencies like Senior Insights to have a Registered Nurse perform assessments “of client needs to develop a plan of care or services.” How extensive those assessments are, or how often they take place, can vary from one agency to the next.

At Senior Insights we’re committed to performing full assessments of our clients. Like our initial three-part holistic needs assessment, our periodic RN assessments look at physical health, mental health, functional and social abilities, cognitive health, and even a safety evaluation, to obtain a complete picture of our clients. This is often an eye-opening experience for our clients and their families, because these assessments can reveal information not previously known.

Keep SAD away from the year’s happiest season

sad 2020Every year, it comes on as inevitably as the holiday season from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. SAD is a very apt acronym for Seasonal Affective Disorder, a form of depression that starts around the switchover to Standard Time, worsens through winter, ends in spring, and is winter blues times cabin fever to the nth power.

SAD can make you feel, well, sad, as well as anxious and irritable. It can make you lose interest in normal activities and withdraw from social contacts. In addition to interfering with concentration, it can make you feel fatigued, sluggish, lacking in energy. And boy, can it mess up your sleep patterns. It can also give you a big-time craving for carbohydrates, leading to weight gain, which in turn can sap your remaining energy.

About half a million Americans suffer from SAD, three-quarters of them women. And while older adults are less likely to experience SAD, it may be of bigger concern to them. Seniors are already vulnerable to feelings of social isolation, loneliness and often depression – especially in these times of pandemic and lockdown – and SAD can make those only worse.

Are you sure you want to age in place?

home sweet homeSurvey after survey shows that the overwhelming majority of older adults – in some surveys as many as 90% – want to spend the rest of their lives in their current homes.

But should they?

It’s true that aging in place lets you stay in familiar surroundings, close to friends and family, while avoiding the stress, strain and costs of moving – especially if you’ve already downsized.

But size isn’t everything. Because whether you’re rattling around your empty nest or living in a cozy condo, your home is aging as you do – you’ll both need more care as you get older. Some of the signs may be as obvious as peeling paint, rotting shingles, or the odor of the sewer backing up in the basement. But some – like mold under the sink, mice in the walls, or a furnace or air-conditioning compressor that aren’t what they used to be – aren’t.