Tips for Addressing “Sundowning” in Seniors from a Home Care Services Leader

The phenomenon known as “sundowning” refers to an increase in agitation and confusion in the late afternoon and evening for seniors. It occurs in those with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. As a leading provider of home care services, our senior caregivers do observe it in the people they visit.

The exact cause of sundowning is unknown, but many factors play a role, including:

  • Fatigue
  • Illness
  • Decreased lighting and increased shadows
  • Issues that affect the body's internal clock
  • Trouble distinguishing between reality and dreams

Strategies for Minimizing Sundowning

While it can be difficult to completely eliminate the impact the transition into nighttime has on seniors with cognitive impairment, there are things families and caregivers can do to help minimize the effects. They include:

  • Getting daytime sun exposure to promote nighttime sleepiness
  • Encouraging healthy daytime activity, which can increase late-day relaxation and lower blood pressure
  • Limiting daytime napping
  • Maintaining a consistent routine from morning until bedtime
  • Avoiding sugar and caffeine in the late afternoon and evening hours
  • Use a nightlight so the person can see their surroundings if they wake during the night
  • Taking familiar objects such as photos or bedside decorations when traveling to promote a sense of familiarity and relaxation
  • Providing a soothing late afternoon/evening environment free from excessive stimulation
  • Consulting the person’s physician if there is reason to suspect that there is a medical issue that is causing or exacerbating the sundowning

Attentive and Empathetic Home Care Services

Our Seniors Helping Seniors caregivers do not provide medical care. However, they can be a vital link between the seniors they visit and family members or healthcare providers. They are always happy to provide information on a senior’s mood and behavior that can help loved ones address issues like sundowning. Ultimately, our team of home care services providers wants to see seniors who choose to stay in their homes enjoy their happiest, healthiest lives just like their families do.

Contact us today to learn more about our offerings in a free consultation! We’re honored to provide quality care for seniors by seniors in Fort Collins, Loveland, Greeley, Longmont, Johnstown, Berthoud, Ault, Firestone, Wellington, Windsor, Frederick, Firestone, Laporte and surrounding areas.