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What is Sundowning?

Companion Care at Home in Charleston, SC by Home Care Plus
Companion Care at Home in Charleston, SC by Home Care Plus

How can you help care for your loved one experiencing sundowning? 

The term “sundowning” is used to describe the time period in the evenings for people diagnosed with dementia to become more confused. Sundowning is a syndrome caused by dementia, not its own disease. Sundowning can continue into the night, making it hard for people with Dementia to sleep.  
Signs and Symptoms of Sundowning can include: 
  • Pacing 
  • Rocking in a Chair 
  • Wandering 
  • Following family/caregiver around the house 
  • Crying 
  • Yelling 
Other behaviors and emotions may include: 
  • Mood swings 
  • Anxiety 
  • Fear 
  • Sadness 
  • Restlessness 
  • Paranoia 
  • Increased confusion 
  • Hallucinations/Delusions 
While we don’t know for certain what causes sundowning, we do know that these factors can play a part in increasing behaviors during sundowning.  
  • Being overly tired 
  • Unmet needs such as hunger or thirst 
  • Infection 
  • Dehydration 
  • Medications 
  • Overstimulation 
  • Low lighting 
  • New or confusing environment 
How can you help your loved one manage sundowning? 
  • Create a regular routine and structured activities 
  • Spend time outside in the sunlight during the day 
  • Simplify surroundings 
  • Reduce noise, clutter or the number of people in the room 
  • Adjust lighting, allow natural light in during the day 
  • Schedule activities or appointments in the morning  
  • Try and identify triggers that cause anxiety 


If sundowning continues to be a problem, seek medical advice. Physicians may be helpful in determining triggers causing sundowning. Talk with the physician if you witness any new or developing symptoms, or if you are having difficulty managing a home care routine.  

If you or an aging loved one are considering 24-Hour Home Care Services, please contact the caring staff at Home Care Plus today. Call (843) 628-3642

We provide quality 24-Hour Home Care for seniors and families in Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Summerville, James Island, Johns Island, Daniel Island, Goose Creek, North Charleston, Sullivans Island, Isle of Palms, Kiawah Island, and Seabrook Island.

Home Care Plus Staff

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