3 Ways to Reduce Sundowning


3 Ways to Reduce Sundowning

Sundowning affects about 1 in every 5 individuals living with Alzheimer’s. As a loved one, what can you do? How can you help your loved one reduce symptoms of sundowning and experience life without worry? Team Select is here to help with 3 ways to reduce sundowning. 

What is sundowning?

According to Mayo Clinic, sundowning “refers to a state of confusion occurring in the late afternoon and lasting into the night. Sundowning can cause different behaviors, such as confusion, anxiety, aggression, or ignoring directions. Sundowning can also lead to pacing or wandering.”

Sundowning can happen at any stage of Alzheimer’s or dementia and can be stressful not only for the individual experiencing these symptoms and feelings but for loved ones around.

#1 Routine, routine, routine

One of the best ways to help your loved one reduce sundowning is to ensure they are on a consistent schedule with most if not all aspects of their life. This includes a consistent sleep schedule, utilizing the same room for specific daily activities, and a consistent workout/exercise schedule.

#2 Make sunlight a priority

Ensuring your loved one has a consistent workout routine that involves being outside is crucial to reduce sundowning. According to a recent article written by Banner Health, “sunlight can help set their internal clock as well as help reduce pent up energy.”

Outdoor activities for older adults can include:

  • A brisk walk
  • Fishing
  • Journaling
  • Yoga

“Researchers at the University of California, Davis and Rutgers University have found a link between low levels of vitamin D and memory problems and the onset of Alzheimer’s. The effects of vitamin D supplements on Alzheimer’s are still unknown, but direct exposure to natural light has many benefits.” – Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation

#3 Reduce stimulants later in the day

As the time approaches the hour of sunset, it is recommended to reduce your loved one’s stimulants and create a calm environment in preparation for the evening change. 

Stimulants can include (but are not limited to) caffeine, loud sounds, and TV.

Limiting these stimulants to the morning time can help reduce sundowning and late-day confusion/aggravation.

While there is no one plan of care for a loved one struggling with sundowning, the above tips can be a great place to start to reduce sundowning with your loved one. For additional care information regarding how Team Select may be able to help, please visit our services page today!