The term “sundowning” refers to a state of confusion occurring in the late afternoon and spanning into the night. Sundowning can cause a variety of behaviors, such as confusion, anxiety, aggression or ignoring directions. Sundowning can also lead to pacing or wandering. Residents may become demanding, suspicious, upset or disoriented.
Sundowning isn’t a disease, but a group of symptoms that occur at a specific time of the day that may affect people with dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease. The exact cause of this behavior is unknown.
The causes of sundowning are not well understood. One possibility is that Alzheimer’s-related brain changes can affect a person’s “biological clock,” leading to confused sleep-wake cycles. This may result in agitation and other sundowning behaviors.
It represents a concrete problem, which is difficult to manage for physicians and caregivers, and is probably linked to various biological, psychological and social aspects. As recently reported, the sundowning phenomenon is a predictor of faster cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease, and as such can represent a possible marker of frailty in this illness.
CEU’s 3: for ARF, RCFE
In this course we will cover
- Definition of Sundowning
- Factors that may aggravate late-day confusion
- Common Behaviors Exhibited by Residents with Dementia
- Coping with Sundowning
- Tips for Reducing Sundowning
- Managing Sleep Problems
- Strategies for Staff to Use to Lessen Sundowning Behavior
- Understanding Wandering, Hallucinations, Aggression, Suspicions & Delusions and Interventions for each behavior
- Managing Behaviors
- Communicating with Residents During Early, Middle & Late Stage Dementia