Sundowning and Dementia: How to Manage Signs and Symptoms

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Senior man looking out a window with concern at dusk

Some individuals with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia can experience heightened symptoms of confusion in late afternoon and evening. This group of symptoms is called sundown syndrome or, simply, sundowning. Sundowning can present with a variety of behaviors, from anxiety and confusion to aggression and a refusal to comply with directions and requests. Some people with sundowning may also pace and wander.

Sundowning is not classified as a disease, but as a group of symptoms occurring later in the day. Although medical researchers are studying sundowning, the exact cause of the behaviors is still unknown. Fading light seems to be a trigger, and the elevated symptoms usually lessen by morning.

Learn about the possible causes and the management of sundowning in the Right at Home blog.

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