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Sundowning and Dementia.

Sundowning and dementia is a term used for the changes in behaviour that occur in the evening, around dusk. Some people who have been diagnosed with dementia experience a growing sense of agitation or anxiety at this time.

Why does Sundowning Happen in People With Dementia?

Sundowning has several causes. As the day goes on, the person with dementia becomes more tired, and this can lead to their dementia symptoms worsening. Hunger, thirst and physical pain can also play a part.  

As darkness falls, streetlights come on and people settle in for the evening. These changes can make the person increasingly concerned that they are in the wrong place, or that they have forgotten to do something vital during the day.

What can be done to help people with Sundowning and dementia?

  • Stick to a routine: Dementia can make it hard to develop and remember new routines. Try and stick to the same schedule every day. If this is not possible try to adjust the routine gradually to minimise feelings of stress and confusion.
  • Keep active: Day time naps and inactivity can make it harder to sleep at night. If possible, go out for a walk. The natural light will help regulate the body’s natural rhythm and the exercise will help with sleep.
  • Monitor eating and drinking habits – Limit the amount of caffeine and alcohol a person has throughout the day. Having a light meal in the evening can also help the person to sleep better.
  • Ease into night-time: Close the curtains and turn the lights on before dusk begins. This will ease the transition into night-time.

More information  on Sundowning can be found here

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