Managing Sundowning - DementiaHub.SG

Managing Sundowning

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What Is Sundowning?

A person living with dementia may display behaviour changes particularly in the evening which include agitation, aggression, confusion and restlessness. This is known as sundowning and often occurs in the moderate to severe stages of dementia.

There is now a Night Respite service available for caregivers of persons living with dementia who have sundowning behaviour. Learn More.

Possible Causes of Sundowning

• Changes in the physical brain may affect the sleep cycle and cause wakefulness in the evening and at night.
• The person may have previously been occupied and busy at a particular time of the day.
• Little or disturbed sleep that may cause restlessness, or napping during the day time.
• Side effects of medication that can cause confusion, agitation or wear off during the evening time.
• Environments that cause discomfort may precipitate sundowning, for e.g., shadows that occur around evening time.

Some Ways to Manage Sundowning

Sundowning may cause some distress to caregivers, and be challenging to address for care professionals. Here are some tips which may be helpful in reducing sundowning symptoms in persons living with dementia.

1. Implement a daily schedule.
2. Occupy the person living with dementia with a familiar activity that will bring them comfort, such as listening to their favourite music and looking at old photographs.
3. Reduce sources of discomfort from the environment such as loud noises and bright lights.

Content adapted from Alzheimer’s Society.

Downloadable Resources

The following resources contain bite-sized information on Managing Sundowning that you may download and/ or print:

Click on the images below to download in English or select another language.

Is Your Loved One Experiencing Sundowning?

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