What is Sundowning?

December 5th, 2017 No Comments

sundowning

Many who care for those with Alzheimer’s or other related dementia agree that symptoms get worse in the late afternoon and early evening–the time just before and after the sun goes down. This neurological phenomenon has been named Sundown Syndrome and is often called “sundowning.” Sundowning is the increased state of confusion or agitation that many people with memory issues experience as the day’s natural light fades.

Increased shadows, darkness, and changing ambiance can cause confusion and distress in people who have Alzheimer’s and dementia. This stress and agitation can, in turn, be frightening and/or confusing for loved ones who don’t understand why their loved one is behaving in certain ways at certain times of the day.

The more you know and understand about Sundowning, the more you can help your loved one when and if these symptoms occur.

Symptoms of Sundowning

Symptoms of this condition are associated with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia and may include:

  • Increased confusion as natural light begins to fade
  • Increased mood swings
  • Increased agitation
  • Decrease in energy; lethargy
  • Increased stress or visible worry
  • Increased tremors or shaking
  • Increased hostility or aggression
  • Increased disorientation

People who have dementia and who suffer from Sundowning Syndrome may pace nervously or behave in an odd manner. They may display visible signs of worry such as crying or mumbling to themselves. Dealing with these symptoms can be confusing and frustrating, but there are ways to lessen their severity and make your loved one more comfortable during the toughest part of their day.

How Can You Help?

There are a few ways your help your loved one with dementia make an easier transition from daytime to nighttime.

  • Keep the home well-lit
  • Minimize shadows, especially in rooms your loved one spends the most time in
  • Encourage activity during the day
  • Ensure a regular eating and exercise schedule
  • Consider hiring a professional home health aide who specializes in memory care to provide extra support for your loved one and yourself

For those who have dementia and Alzheimer’s, a specialized caregiving routine can ease symptoms and help them feel more comfortable, no matter the time of day.

Contact Visiting Angels today to learn more about our certified home health aides and how we can help your loved one live more independently at home.


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