Caregiver Training: Sundowning | UCLA Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Program

my father’s behavior tends to get worse
when the Sun starts to go down he appears both exhausted and restless
what can I do to help him get through this time of the day we did I put it dad where are you going my chips I can’t
find my checkbook we don’t use checks anymore remember I
pay all your bills online sit down and watch TV I just sort of North there’s a show
coming on you like debt sundowning or sun down there syndrome is a common
behavior in people with dementia it typically occurs around sunset or early
evening and it’s characterized by confusion anxiety aggression agitation
or ignoring directions it can also lead to pacing or wandering
as dementia progresses it damages areas in the brain that regulate the internal
clock this can disrupt the sleep and wake cycle and may appear as increased
napping during the day and difficulty staying asleep at night the reduced
light in the evening can trigger sundowning especially in someone who’s
extra tired anxious or who has pent-up energy from a boring day dad what are you doing where is you know it is dark in here why
don’t we brighten things up and see what we’re looking for my chick book the
checks we ordered haven’t come in yet why don’t we go look at that photo album
sundowning isn’t a disease but rather a group of symptoms that occur at a
specific time of day the exact cause of sundowning behavior is unknown but there
are ways to help you if your loved one display symptoms related the Sun downing
change the environment by making sure rooms are well-lit and free from shadows
close the drapes lines and adjust lighting is necessary this should help your father understand
better prevent confusion fear and agitation create a calm environment free
of loud noises or disruptions be patient and distract your loved one with a
relaxing enjoyable activity try to provide your loved one with enough
activity during the day but not so much that they become overly fatigue limit
daytime napping to a couple of hours

10 thoughts on “Caregiver Training: Sundowning | UCLA Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Program

  1. Sundowning is truly one of most challenging behaviors in Alzheimer's disease. Not only is it a safety issue for the senior, but the repeated lack of sleep can be so dangerous for the family caregivers as well. It can be extremely helpful to partner with a professional in-home caregiver who can stay awake with the senior and help him or her to stay calm and engaged while family members get much needed rest. Additional resources for Alzheimer's caregivers is available here:

  2. Love this training you give. I am from South Africa and by January/February 2019 will be moving to the UK. As an ex-cop I have come across terrible abuse of elderly people. I have a heart for them and those that are in need. Thus I have researched and after many months decided to go into a carer position in the UK. The crux of the matter in all of your training programs I noticed is just pure love and respect. That is the foundation of a carer. Cant wait to start this new career and I am already looking for more training programs. At last I will be able to do the job I can openly show love and compassion.

  3. What could be done if you worked multiple years in the graveyard shift? Retired now and would like to get on a sleep pattern like everybody else. I'm tired of not being able to do family things without dozing off the whole day..

  4. Could someone please give me some advice. My grandpa is 78 and has sundowner he is bedridden as of now and he what is almost 200 lb he sleeps in the living room and he gets to thinking he is in different places and we can't take him out of the house because we can't get him out of his bed. He see thangs and always tells us that he wants to go home. We tell him he is home but he dont believe us. What would we tell him and how do we address this situation? Also my mother is hes primary caregiver. She can't get a job because she has to change him every few hours . Is there a way she can get some type of check for careing for him? Thank yall so much!

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