Older Americans Act and time change caregiving tips

By Kay Kaylor
SUN Columnist
For San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging (SJBAAA), I am not only a part-time long-term care ombudsman, which is an advocate for residents at Pine Ridge, a 24-hour extended care home, and BeeHive, an assisted living residence. I also am an aging and disability resource specialist and trained Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) and State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) counselor. Information on the many aging and care concerns will be included here.
The reauthorization of the Older Americans Act, which funds elder justice and support programs, moved forward another step when the House passed H.R. 4334, the Dignity in Aging act of 2019, on Oct. 29.
As noted in May, the act funds the region’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, the senior center lunches and home-delivered meals, caregiver support, in-home care, legal assistance and transportation.
Time change and
‘sundowning’
The end of daylight saving time may accelerate the disorientation that comes with “sundowning,” experienced by people living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, and it can last throughout the winter, according to the Alzheimer’s Association (AA).
More than a quarter million Colorado family members are unpaid caregivers for 73,000 people living with Alzheimer’s.
These caregivers may experience behavior changes in those they take care of due to the prolonged hours of darkness. Sundowning usually occurs late in the afternoon and early evening and may disrupt sleep cycles. Symptoms can include anxiety, sadness, restlessness, hallucinations, delusions, sudden mood swings, increased confusion and energy surges.
The Colorado Chapter of AA suggests tips for caregivers, such as getting enough rest so that they don’t convey stress to those living with dementia, scheduling activities earlier in the day and encouraging exercise, taking notes to identify triggers, allowing supervised pacing, keeping the evening meal lighter, providing adequate lighting and not using physical restraint.
SJBAAA offers resources for people age 60 and older or on Medicare. For further information, please call me at 264-0501, ext. 1 or send an email to adrc@sjbaaa.org.

This story was posted on November 12, 2019.