Dealing with the Sundowning Syndrome


As the sun sets, a loved one with dementia may exhibit behaviors that are out of character for them. Sundowning is a typical term for this shift in behavior. Sundowning is a combination of symptoms that can develop in people with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia when daylight fades. The symptoms may include agitation, restlessness, irritability, and confusion.

It is not understood why sundowning occurs, but experts suspect that circadian rhythms—a person’s natural body clock—are disrupted. When this is disrupted, it may be both uncomfortable and aggravating, and this is reflected in their actions.

To deal with these symptoms of sundowning, our expert caregivers that deliver personal care in California, suggest the following:

  • Avoid physical restraints
  • Ensure that the patient is not physically restrained.
  • If they are confined, they may become more anxious and agitated. Let them go at their own speed as long as it’s safe.
  • They should get adequate sleep.
  • Patients should be allowed an afternoon nap and a decent night’s sleep so they don’t feel weary when awake.
  • Encourage spending time outside.
  • Do some mild exercise and expose them to sunshine to help them set their internal body clock.
  • Set familiar activities during the evening
  • Routines assist people with memory loss get their day started and communicating that it’s bedtime so they don’t get confused.
  • Most importantly, arrange for a thorough medical examination and discuss the patient’s conditions with the doctor. Medications can also be helpful to relieve the symptoms.

At Ileini’s Care, Inc., a home care agency in Monterey, California, we ensure to prioritize your loved one’s happiness and safety while honoring their privacy and dignity at all times.

Our skilled caregivers can also provide other services such as pet care for your buddies at home.

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