For example, turn off the TV or switch to non-exciting show played at a low volume. If music is playing, make it soft, soothing, and at a low volume.
Consider using aromatherapy to scent the air with a relaxing scent like lavender. Some people may enjoy hearing a book read aloud , looking at photos that remind them of happy times, or sitting quietly with an activity. If there are activities they enjoy and usually calm them, this is a great time for those options.
Lighting can be a bit tricky, so experiment to find out what works best. Typically, dimming the lights a little helps to transition from activity to sleep.
Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way. Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free! And who put it there, anyway? Literally How to use a word that literally drives some people nuts. Is Singular 'They' a Better Choice? A Word Origin Quiz Who'd a thunk? We used lavender oil in a diffuser for Dad, but you can also use it to scent a cotton ball, or mix with water and spray it in the air.
They can be potent, so be sure to use appropriate amounts and dilutions. Give healing touch. Never underestimate the value of a hand or foot massage to relax tense muscles and increase feel-good hormones. For example, when Dad was at the height of sundowning, we prepared a warm footbath with herbs and essential oils and soaked and massaged his feet every evening, which eased him through the transition incredibly well.
He always loved having his head rubbed and scratched, so doing that immediately calmed him. He also got a professional massage once a week, which helped on an ongoing basis. A loving hug or holding hands can be physically calming and emotionally reassuring for your loved ones, breaking the cycle of anxiety. Try acupuncture. Acupuncture has been used to treat anxiety and depression for many generations and is increasingly being accepted by Western medicine.
I started taking Dad to acupuncture to help with grief, depression and anxiety and was pleased at how it relaxed him; he continued acupuncture for the last five years of his life. The sessions would start with a short massage to calm him very important , and he generally slept through the treatment.
Use herbs, supplements and medications wisely. Ask the doctor about medications that might help with symptoms, such as antianxiety drugs and antidepressants. Be sure to ask about and monitor possible side effects; for some people with dementia, sedating drugs can cause the opposite effect.
A geriatric psychiatrist is an excellent resource. Also ask about herbs and supplements, such as lemon balm, valerian, chamomile, kava and holy basil. There are many supplements that claim to be calming and stress-reducing, including melatonin , magnesium, and B, C and E vitamins.
Keep in mind that a brain with dementia may react differently to certain treatments. Managing sundown syndrome requires creativity, flexibility, empathy and strong observational skills as we try to determine what triggers our loved ones and how to address the behaviors. No two people with dementia are exactly alike, so be prepared to test different approaches.
Some may not work, but others will. Successes might be temporary or intermittent. You are leaving AARP. Please return to AARP. Patients with established sundowning and no obvious medical illness may be suffering from impaired circadian regulation, or may be affected by nocturnal aspects of their institutional environment such as shift changes, increased noise, or reduced staffing which leads to fewer opportunities for social interaction.
It is thought that with the development of plaques and tangles associated with Alzheimer's disease there might be a disruption within the suprachiasmatic nucleus SCN. A disruption within the suprachiasmatic nucleus would seem to be an area that could cause the types of confusion that are seen in sundowning.
However, finding evidence for this is difficult, as an autopsy is needed to analyse this disruption properly. By the time an Alzheimer's patient has died, they have usually surpassed the level of brain damage and associated dementia that would be associated with sundowning.
This hypothesis is, however, supported by the effectiveness of melatonin , a natural hormone, to decrease behavioral symptoms associated with sundowning. Another cause can be oral problems, like tooth decay with pain. When the time a meal is served comes close, a patient can show symptoms of sundowning. This cause is not widely recognized,  however anticipation of food can increase dopamine levels, and dopamine and melatonin have an antagonistic relationship.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Neurological phenomenon. This article is about the psychological phenomenon. For the album, see Sundowning album. For other uses, see Sundowning disambiguation.
Psychiatry Investig. April 28, Mayo Clinic.Jan 16, · Sundowning “A set of neuropsychiatric symptoms occurring in elderly persons with or without dementia at the time of sunset, at evening, or at night.