Sundowning is a state of confusion occurring in the evening and lasting into the night. It can lead to
behavioral issues, anxiety, agitation, aggression and confusion. Sundowning can also result in wandering
or pacing. In the opinion of memory care experts, sundowning is not a disease, but a group of symptoms
occurring at a specific time of the day. The exact cause of sundowning is not yet found. Experts in our assisted living facility share some ways in which you can manage sundowning in your senior loved one.
Managing Sundowning In Seniors
Though sundowning in seniors can be difficult to deal with, being familiar with the symptoms and the
different coping mechanisms can help manage the problem. Follow the below tips to manage
sundowning in seniors.
Maintain A Predictable Routine: It is important to have a predictable routine to manage
sundowning in seniors. Therefore, make sure to have a set time to go to bed and wake up and
also for meal times.
Ensure That The Sleeping Environment Is Comfortable: The sleeping area of your senior loved
one should be conducive, with regulated temperature and the right bed. Add nightlights if
needed and equip doors with sensors so that family members will be alerted of wandering.
Avoid Stimulants: If possible make your senior loved one avoid sugar and caffeine. However, if it
is unavoidable, you can make the person limit these to the morning so that they will have
enough time to go through the body.
Stay Active: Make your senior loved one stay active during the day. If the person rests all day
long, they won’t feel sleepy at night, which can lead to sundowning. Also, you can encourage
your loved one to exercise regularly and do activities in the early morning and noon.
Try Music: Many people suffering from sundowning report that they have an easier time falling
asleep while listening to music. You should figure out the right music and tunes from their era to
encourage them to relax and unwind.
Check Vision: Visual hallucination is a common symptom of sundowning. This can be aggravated
in people with poor vision and difficulty making out shapes.
Talk To A Doctor: A healthcare provider will be able to find if there is an underlying health
condition that is leading to or aggravating symptoms. Urinary tract infections are found to
worsen the symptoms of sundowning. Doctors will be able to recommend non-medicine
solutions that can help patients sleep better at night.
Medications should be the last resort to manage sundowning. A healthcare provider may prescribe
medications like antipsychotics, benzodiazepines, hypnotics or a combination to manage the symptoms