This behavior is termed “Sundowning.” Sundowning (or Sundowner’s) is not a disease, but a symptom categorization under the overall symptoms of Alzheimer's.
What is Sundowning and Why Does It Occur?Sundowning is traditionally triggered during the evening or when there is little sunlight. The exact reason for Sundowning has not yet been found, which is frustrating for those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or Dementia. It is important to remain patient during these occurrences.
What are Sundowning Symptoms?Sundowning symptoms are clearly recognized by one or more of the following:
- Severe mood swings
How Is Sundowning Managed?There is no true solution to Sundowning. However, steps do exist to help cope with your loved one’s behavior during these occasions.
- Be understanding - Patience and understanding help to calm your loved one. Those with Dementia often feel they are younger or at a different chapter in their lives. Agree with them and enter their world. Suggest an activity to help them remain occupied. If you try to force reality it will only lead to anger and frustration.
- Keep a daily routine - A routine daily agenda is beneficial. Attempt to schedule appointments, outings or visits in the earlier part of the day.
- Keep evenings calm - If your loved one is living with you, avoid loud noise, close curtains, turn on lights or play relaxing music.
- Track behavior - Each Senior has different prompts for Sundowning. The approaches taken with each trigger should be logged in a journal or on a phone app. Repeat each successful tactic taken to minimize Sundowning.
- Consult the primary physician - Doctors need to know the behavior exhibited. Natural or medicated solutions are available to help manage Sundowning.