3 top tips to reduce sundowning in people with dementia

3 top tips to reduce sundowning in people with dementia

When early evening comes, do you find that your loved one with dementia experiences difficulties? Does their mood or behaviour change? Do you notice that they begin to feel anxious, confused, agitated or frustrated?

This sudden change of behaviour is often referred to as sundowning, or late-day confusion. It describes the neurological phenomenon that can happen in people with dementia, usually between 4-7pm.

Seeing your loved one struggle with their emotions is difficult, but there are ways in which you can help them. Here are three tops tips you can follow to help relax your loved one dealing with dementia during a sundowning period.

1. Stick to a routine

Having a routine for the late afternoon can help those with dementia remain calm and keep them productive, thereby reducing the chance of sundowning occurring in the first place. Make time for an afternoon activity, such as doing some arts and crafts together or watching their favourite TV show. Keep regular hours for dinner and bedtime to reduce stress – looking forward to dinner at 6 pm every evening can reduce the feelings of confusion and agitation.

2. Use distractions

When you notice that your loved one is feeling anxious or confused, use distractions to help them get back on track. First, start by talking to them in a gentle voice in order to reassure and soothe them. Then you can work on suggesting a task that you can complete together in order to take their mind off their distress. Try listening to some music, or go for a walk together, and move out of the room that is causing the sundowning behaviour. Hunger or thirst can also play a part, so consider making a snack or a cup of tea.

3. Get some extra help at home

For those with dementia, living alone can be stressful and difficult. While some people with dementia decide to move into a residential home, for others remaining in their own home is the best option. Getting your loved one some extra help at home means that they can continue to be surrounded by all their belongings in an environment that’s familiar to them, which can go some way of reducing their dementia symptoms.

Better Healthcare Services is dedicated to providing excellent healthcare at home. We can work with you to create a care plan tailored to your needs, whether that means your loved one receives permanent live-in care or daily home care visits from a trained specialist carer.

Our carers can help your loved one with dementia remain safe and secure in their own home, and as part of our service we can also provide assistance with:

  • Washing and dressing
  • Getting in and out of bed
  • Food preparation and cooking
  • Light housework
  • Shopping
  • Supervising medication and collecting prescriptions
  • Visiting the doctor and attending hospital appointments
  • Outings, companionship and social care

Get in touch with people who can make a difference

Better Healthcare Services is always ready to give people with dementia the extra support they need at home. For more information on how our dementia live-in or home care services can benefit your loved one, call us today on 0800 668 1234.