What is sundowning?

Sundowning refers to a late-day increase in agitation, confusion, and restlessness that can be typical for individuals with mid-stage and advanced dementia. One theory is that this is a time of day that is often very busy during various stages of life, and as a result, a person with dementia might have the sense that they are supposed to be doing something that they can’t remember, or might be resistant to staying still.

To help, you can try to refocus the person’s attention to an activity or some other distraction. This might be particularly successful if you can tie it back to something that was part of their normal routine for that time of day before the onset of dementia. One thing you should not do is tell the person to sit down or relax; it will likely increase their agitation.

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