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What Is Sundowning?

Older woman wearing a large sunhat and enjoying the sunshine outdoors but who wants to know what is sundowning?

If you are Googling what is sundowning, you have noticed your parents or elderly loved ones are more agitated or confused in the late afternoon or early evening. This condition is common in people with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia and can be brought on by fatigue, pain, or general discomfort.

Calder Woods is a fully accredited senior living community that welcomes seniors who show signs of sundowning and need full-time care to benefit their mental health. Our team has experience with sundowning and knows how to create a calming and relaxing environment to ease these symptoms. Each of our residents is on a personalized care program that is based on their individual symptoms and mental and physical health needs.

For more information about our senior memory care services, please call 409.407.7636 today.

What Is Sundowning?

Sundowning, or sundown syndrome, is the term used to describe the neurological phenomenon in seniors with dementia. In this condition, they display behavioral and cognitive changes in the late afternoon and evening. Sundowning is not a separate illness but a group of symptoms that occur at a specific time of day. The cause of these symptoms is unknown at this time.

What we know about sundowning is that certain factors contribute to the appearance of these symptoms. These include:

  • Fatigue
  • Being in an unfamiliar location in the late afternoon
  • Low lighting
  • Being hungry or thirsty
  • Feeling pain or discomfort
  • Boredom
  • Depression

Certain medications may also contribute to an increase in sundowning symptoms. These include antidepressants, antianxiety, and antipsychotic medications. Seniors who struggle with sundowning should review their medications with their healthcare provider.

At Calder Woods, we can help you understand the signs of sundowning and what we can do to support your loved one’s well-being and mental health. We will work closely with your parents or loved one to develop a comprehensive care program that includes medication management, physical, speech, and occupational therapy, nutritious meal plans, and other beneficial services.

Recognizing the Signs of Sundowning

As with any neurological condition, there are certain signs that indicate a person is struggling with their mental health. If your parents or elderly loved ones live with Alzheimer’s disease or other type of dementia, you should be familiar with these signs of sundowning:

  • Increased agitation – Seniors may start to get increasingly agitated in the late afternoon or early evening. They may start to pace or have an overall sense of uneasiness when the sun goes down.
  • Sleeping patterns – Sundowning can also affect seniors’ ability to get a full night’s sleep, increasing their fatigue, which can increase the likelihood of sundowning. They may have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep throughout the night. Insomnia is a common symptom of sundowning.
  • Mood changes – You may notice that they experience more abrupt mood changes in the later afternoons and evenings. They can become easily irritated or experience depression or anxiety. Some seniors can become more aggressive or violent due to this condition.
  • Communication problems – Seniors may experience increased cognitive decline during a sundowning episode. They may have trouble finding the right words, repeat words or phrases, or have difficulty keeping up with the conversation.
  • Changes in appetite – Sundowning can also affect seniors’ appetite and thirst. They may become less hungry or thirsty or have increased hunger and thirst as symptoms

If you recognize any of these sundowning symptoms in your parents, enrolling them in a memory care program can reduce the severity of this condition.

Find Comprehensive Senior Memory Care Services at Calder Woods Today

Calder Woods in Beaumont, TX, supports seniors living with Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia through our senior memory care programs. We offer private studios, one- and two-bedroom suites, healthy meal plans, medication management, health and wellness programs, and other senior services as part of their overall care program.

If you feel it is time to consider a senior living community for your parents or a loved one, call 409.407.7636 today to schedule a consultation and tour or reach out to Calder Woods online.