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March 2013
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                                                 March 2013

How to handle the difficult hours

Causes of and strategies to cope with sundowning
People with Alzheimer's and dementia may have problems sleeping or increases in behavioral problems that begin at dusk and last into the night (known as sundowning). This will happen whether living at home or in a routine. Most often it is worse after a move or change in routine. Sundowners become more demanding, upset, suspicious or disoriented; may see, hear, believe things that aren't real or may wander at night.

Some studies indicate as many as 20 percent of persons with Alzheimer's will experience increased confusion, anxiety and agitation beginning late in the day. Others may experience changes in their sleep schedule and restlessness during the night. This disruption in the body's sleep-wake cycle can lead to more behavioral problems.

Factors that may contribute to sundowning and sleep disturbances include:

  • End-of-day exhaustion (both mental and physical)
  • An upset in the "internal body clock," causing a biological mix-up between day and night
  • Reduced lighting and increased shadows causing people with Alzheimer's to misinterpret what they see, and become confused and afraid
  • Reactions to nonverbal cues of frustration from caregivers who are exhausted from their day
  • Disorientation due to the inability to separate dreams from reality when sleeping
  • Less need for sleep, which is common among older adults

Coping strategies for sleep issues and sundowning

Keep the home well lit in the evening.
Adequate lighting may reduce the agitation that occurs when surroundings are dark or unfamiliar.

Make a comfortable and safe sleep environment.
The person's sleeping area should be at a comfortable temperature. Provide nightlights and other ways to keep the person safe, such as appropriate door and window locks. Door sensors and motion detectors can be used to alert family members when a person is wandering, as can safety systems like Comfort Zone.

Find more coping strategies here

In This Issue

Alzheimer's at FilmFest

Invaluable resource



Make your voice heard
Be a part of  Memory Day at the Statehouse
Weds, April 10, 2013!

Join chapters of the Alzheimer's Association from across the state for Ohio's Memory Day.

This is your chance to speak out for those living with Alzheimer's disease and memory loss and ensure that state legislators support vital programs.

  • Memory Day includes:
  • Free luncheon from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm
  • Legislative meetings scheduled before and after lunch
  • Free transportation provided to the Statehouse Atrium in Columbus
  • Ohio Department of Aging Director Bonnie Kantor-Burman to speak

For more information or to register, call
800.272.3900 or email


Can learning therapy reverse symptoms of dementia?

"Do You Know What My Name Is?"

Alzheimer's and dementia featured in a documentary at the Cleveland International Film Festival in April.

Dementia, nursing home staff John Rodeman reminds us, is an awful disease. The afflicted can forget things that happened moments ago, just as they can forget the names of their children.
But since 2011, there's been hope: Cleveland's Eliza Jennings Senior Care Network is the first site in the United States to conduct research on a . Evelyn, Bea, Mary, and Mae are accomplished women who have recently lost cognitive function. Their therapy involves reading aloud and doing simple math problems on a regular basis. After months of working with cheerful caregivers on "brain exercises," they exhibit an astonishing improvement in memory, focus, and mood. John Rodeman has a question for each of them: DO YOU KNOW WHAT MY NAME IS? Thanks to learning therapy, their answer is now likely to be a resounding "Yes!"
Film Screenings
Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 7:35 PM
Friday, April 12, 2013 at 11:40 AM
Saturday, April 13, 2013 at 9:30 AM  
Tickets go on sale March 15, 2013.

Find more details at 

An invaluable resource:
Support Groups

Dozens of groups meet in our area

Support groups are an open gathering of people with common issues, needs and interests who come together to share their thoughts and experiences to better cope with and manage the challenges of dementia. The Alzheimer's Association offers peer- or professionally-led groups for caregivers and others dealing with Alzheimer's disease. All support groups are facilitated by trained individuals and offer a safe environment to discuss your concerns.
Many locations offer specialized groups for children, individuals with younger-onset and early-stage Alzheimer's, adult caregivers and others with specific needs. To find a support group to meet your needs call our 24-hour Helpline (800) 272-3900 or Go Here.
Alzheimer's Association support groups are available throughout the United States. To find a support group anywhere in the country, click here

Increase your understanding
- Take a class!

The Cleveland Area Chapter provides a variety of educational programs and classes to give up to date, informative and practical information about Alzheimer's disease, dementia and memory loss. We have classes designed to serve the general public, health care professionals, individuals with Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia, their family members and friends.
Although some education programs are available on our website for online training, our live presentations allow participants to ask questions, hear others' questions and interact with one another.  In exit surveys, 99% of our class attendees said they were satisfied with the program and would recommend the program to others.

Click here to see our Education Programs

Our Helpline is here for you 24/7

Call (800) 272-3900

The Alzheimer's Association 24/7 Helpline provides reliable information and support to all those who need assistance. Call us toll-free anytime day or night at 1.800.272.3900.

Our 24/7 Helpline serves people with memory loss, caregivers, health care professionals and the public. Highly trained and knowledgeable staff can help you with:

  • Understanding memory loss, dementia and Alzheimer's
  • Medications and other treatment options
  • General information about aging and brain health
  • Skills to provide quality care and to find the best care from professionals
  • Legal, financial and living-arrangement decisions

Our 24/7 Helpline also features:

  • Confidential care consultation that can help with decision-making, provide support, crisis assistance and education on issues families face every day
  • Help in a caller's preferred language using our translation service that features more than 200 languages and dialects
  • Referrals to local community programs, services and ongoing support


Find more caregiving tips online here!



Alzheimer's Association

Our vision: A world without Alzheimer's disease®.
Formed in 1980, the Alzheimer's Association is the world's leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support and research.