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Sundowning and Alzheimer's

Posted on February 12, 2018

Many people with Alzheimer's experience "sundowning," or late-day behavioral changes that include confusion and restlessness. Caregivers on myALZteam share advice and concerns about managing parents and partners when the sun sets. “My dad is very confused. His body clock no longer works,” shared one member. Keeping rooms light and bright before dark may help reset circadian rhythms. “We timed our living room lights to go on at 4 p.m.,” said one caregiver. “Sucks for our electric bill but it provides some comfort,” another wrote.

Finding distractions can also subdue late-day anxiety. “I give my mom a memory box I made for her, let her fold clothes, or dry some plastic cutlery. It seems to calm her for a while,” explained one member. Certain foods may also have a calming effect. “A bowl of my dad’s favorite ice cream does the trick till bed time,” shared one caregiver. “Steamed milk, 60 bpm (beats per minute) music, warm towels, a snuggle, and stroking a beloved pet helps,” added another caregiver.

Members also report success with natural remedies. “My mother-in-law used to wander the house all night long. Melatonin has helped regulate her body clock and she stays in bed much longer,” wrote one caregiver. Others use deep breathing or meditation tapes to soothe restlessness. “Caregiving for someone with Alzheimer’s is a huge challenge. Sundowning just adds to our stress,” said one member.

On myALZteam, the social network and online support group for people caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's, members often talk about a range of personal experiences and struggles. Sundowning is one of the top 10 topics most discussed.


Here are a few question-and-answer threads about sundowning:


Here are conversations that have taken place about sundowning:


Have another topic you'd like to discuss or explore? Go to myALZteam today and start the conversation. You'll be surprised just how many others may share similar stories.

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