Sun downing is a term given to the unique behaviors that seem to become more prevalent in the late afternoon or early evening and will sometimes last well into the night. The behaviors, as you can well imagine, are not calming or providing a feeling of safety. Actually, in themselves they can be unsafe and dangerous.
Sun downing usually has some paranoia traits and frequently will create the ‘fight or flight’ situation within the person’s environment. This can and frequent is the case even when the person has lived in the same dwelling with the same person or people for many years.
There are many thoughts of how to best undertake providing for the persons safety. The most common and immediate is medication. While we are looking at the issue of safety for our friend, family and/or caregivers, medication is first and foremost in everyone’s best interest. It should be said that once the situation is under control it is an immediate concern to our friend to look at the overall effects of the medication and then at the environment.
There are several ways we can perhaps provide for our friend in a more safe and calming situation. This maybe the time when caregivers and family want to decide on a more structured living situation. Professionals find that at this time the spouse or caregiver is living in more of an unsafe situation than our friend. Little or no sleep out of concern that our friend might leave the home or become abusive of the caregiver. Every possible safety mechanism has been put in place to protect our friend. However, when all medications were put away and out of reach – so were the caregiver’s and the caregiver is now working on little sleep and making sure that our friends has taken their medication. But did the caregiver take their medication? Maybe they should take it now? (I think you can see where this is going.)
Keeping our friend inside at night can mean installing some locks that we would never think of otherwise. Now a situation arises such that someone needs to get in the house. Not only is our friend inside but also help can’t get in to provide a much needed service. I am sure you are getting the overall picture of how difficult it can be to provide for the situation without professional help. I have some thoughts and ideas driven home by experience, which I will share with you on Monday. For now, I feel a very important need must be met. Although I would hope this has been done months prior to this, please get all weapons out of the sight and reach of our friend. This includes all firearms, knives, machetes, solvents, lighters, matches and so forth. I am aware that many people in our area rely on fireplaces and wood stoves. I will also address these on Monday as well.
This is a difficult subject and one that is not lightly taken. Please read and think about the need for safety. Remember that on Monday we will discuss, several solutions for these situations. You are not alone or in a quagmire of lost hope, there are answers. You are just stuck in the mud right now.