Sundown Syndrome is not a disease but a behavior. The behaviors occur in the later afternoon or early evening, hence the name. Sundown Syndrome can continue into the night, making it hard for the person to sleep. Research indicates that as many as 20% of people with dementia experience Sundown Syndrome.
Sundown Syndrome can trigger sudden emotional, behavioral, or cognitive changes. These may include mood swings, sadness, restlessness, energy surges, hallucinations, agitation, irritability, anxiety, increased confusion, and delusions. These may lead to challenging behaviors like pacing, rocking, crying, screaming, disorientation, resistance, anger and aggression. In extreme circumstances, the individual may become violent.
Tips for managing Sundown Syndrome include:
Increase indoor lighting
Distracting with a favorite snack
Maintaining a routine
Decrease sensory stimulation
Validate and redirect to favorite activities, people or a pet
Play calming music
Give healing touch – a hand or foot massage with lotion can calm some people
Use essential oils or herbs – lavender, rose and chamomile may cause relaxation
Use medication under the direction of their doctor – medication should be the last choice in trying to manage Sundown Syndrome
Things to avoid that make Sundown Syndrome worse:
Drinks with caffeine late in the day
Too much activity during the day
If you or a loved one are experiencing these or other aging concerns, reach out today to Heather@DesertCareManagement.com or call us at 480-804-7200 to find out how we can help.