Alzheimers Society Comments On Clock Change

Alzheimers Society says that clock change can be confusing for some people

Alzheimers Society says that clock change can be confusing for some people

As the nights begin to draw in, many of us express our surprise, despite the fact it happens every year!

But for people with dementia when the clocks change and go back an hour on 31 October it may well cause more than just surprise.

Emma Spragg, Alzheimer’s Society Head of local services in Northern Ireland, said: “People with dementia can find themselves particularly disorientated by the change.

“Responses of people will generally vary, and some people with dementia may find this upsetting and become tearful, whereas others may become angry or agitated.

“And still others might respond in a more light-hearted way. Others may not even notice that much at all.

The Alzeihmers Society recommends a day/night clock for those who might be affected by the clock change.

“It will of course depend on the individual.

“The main difficulty that people with dementia might experience when the days get shorter is of an increase in ‘sundowning’.

“This can be seen as changes in the person’s behaviour in the later afternoon or towards the end of the day.

“During this time the person may become intensely distressed or confused or have delusions or hallucinations. This may continue into the night, making it hard for them to get enough sleep.

“The fact that mornings are darker may well have an effect too, as someone with dementia may find it difficult to differentiate between, say, 6am and 6pm.”

The use of clocks that show both the time and also whether it is evening or morning may help here. These are available from Alzheimer’s Society’s website.

Emma added: “Having a routine during the day and at bedtime can help when a person’s body clock doesn’t work as well as it should.

“Doing regular activities at the same time each day eg going out for a walk after breakfast, playing a game after lunch, or listening to the radio together in the afternoon can help structure a sense of the time.

“Going outside in the daytime, ideally in the morning, can help to set the person’s body clock too, making them feel sleepy during the evening.

“If the person can’t go outside in the daytime, you could use a lamp or lightbox that creates a bright indoor light.

“These devices have a similar effect to natural light on the person’s body clock.

“So, if you’re affected by dementia, call Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Connect for information, advice and support:

0333 150 3456 

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