Caregiver: During daylight saving time on March 13th, clocks move forward one hour.
What was 4 p.m. is now 5 p.m. as clocks “spring forward.” When you have a parent with Alzheimer’s disease, these time changes can lead to challenging behaviors. Having a caregiver on hand to help you out would be a good idea.
How Does the Time Change Affect Your Dad?
Moving clocks an hour forward can lead to alarming sundowning symptoms in the fall. As the sun starts to set, your parent’s mood changes. You may find your dad becomes tired earlier. Paranoia and delusions increase. Shadows can be frightening and lead to aggression.
In the spring, the opposite happens. Your dad is used to sleeping until the sun rises at 6 a.m. Only, the sun is now coming over the horizon at 5 a.m. He gets up at that hour, but he’s lost an hour of sleep. As the afternoon arrives, he’s much crankier than usual.
Try to keep him busy. If he naps all afternoon, he’s not going to be tired at bedtime. Take him outside for more walks. Get him into the backyard and grow fresh produce in raised beds. Activity is the key to wearing him out and making sure his body is ready for bed.
He’s used to going to bed at 8 p.m. when the sun has set, and it’s dark outside. His body is ready to sleep. But, it’s still sunny at 8 p.m. Your dad’s tired, but the light outside is deceiving him. It impacts his bedtime ritual, making it difficult for you to get him to settle in for the night.
Another problem with daylight saving time involves meals. Your dad follows a schedule. You feed him breakfast at 7 a.m., after he’s been up for an hour. Lunch is at noon, and dinner’s at 5 p.m. With the time change, his body is ready for food at 6 a.m., 11 a.m., and 4 p.m.
You have to adjust your schedule to accommodate these changed mealtimes. Or, you have to push your dad to wait an hour, which can lead to meltdowns. It may be weeks before you’ve successfully moved his meals to the current time and helped him adjust to the time change.
Hire Others to Help
Daylight Savings Time can be a challenge for a family caregiver. It’s a good time to consider 24-hour home care. Make sure you have time to take care of yourself and get enough sleep. Your dad may not sleep as many hours at night as the extended daylight messes with his circadian rhythm.
Don’t put your well-being at risk. It would be best if you get seven or eight hours of sleep. Hire someone to be awake with your dad while you’re sleeping. With a caregiver aide in the home, you can sleep through the night without worrying about your mom or dad being alone.