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Later evening ‘Sundowning’?

Catherine C

Registered User
Oct 15, 2020
15
My Mum was diagnosed with Dementia about 4 years ago. I’ve been caring for her full time for about a year and half... she’s had different phases that could be described as Sundowning but recently this seems to occur quite late in the day from about 8pm to about 9.30pm...she gets very restless, shouts sometimes seems a bit distressed.....I’m wondering if she’s tired should I simply encourage her to go to bed earlier.... I suppose my reticence is that she might be awake in the night more than she is already...... Is this sort of behaviour at this time still considered Sundowning? Our old normal routine used to be watching TV at this time but in this kind of mood even very gentle gardening or nature programmes can be disturbing.... any suggestions for a strategy....?
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
13,946
South coast
Hello @Catherine C and welcome to DTP

Sundowning can happen at any time during the day, but usually in the evening or during the night, so it could well be sundowning that you are seeing - it certainly fits the bill.

TV can become problematic to people with dementia as they get to a stage where they think that what is on TV is actually happening in their home. I remember mum, even though she only watched "gentle" programs, becoming convinced that there were all these people and wild animals in her home and becoming agitated. Have you tried using music instead of TV in the evening? Music will often improved their mood and it is not too tiring.
 

lemonbalm

Registered User
May 21, 2018
881
Hello @Catherine C . Music can indeed be very calming and uplifting for people with dementia. Something relaxing, not too loud! Perhaps get into the habit of putting music on at around 7.30, with drawn curtains, so no reflections in the windows or distractions outside, and fairly soft lighting. A good time for tea and a biscuit too perhaps?

You could also try reading aloud to/with your mum if you think that might appeal to her. Something easygoing, like the classic and wonderful children's books - Winnie the Pooh, for example, or some poetry if your mum would like that? Worth a try. You could also try audio books. Alan Bennet's reading of Winnie the Pooh is wonderful.
 

Chi65

Registered User
Aug 27, 2017
1
Thanks for these Suggestions......will definitely try them out
Blimey, every night? That’s quite a routine..nice idea once, but it’d do my head in, reading poems and Winnie the Pooh in a darkened room every day with no prospect of how long this phase will go on. My dad draws or colours in, cuts endless tiny pieces of paper into tinier ones. Before that he needed almost constant attention, if tv was on it was all about his family, or he’d sleep all the evening which had him waking up in the night. It’s worked a treat. We tentatively put the tv back on (I feel we need a break too) one day and he’s hardly noticed. Mind you he was a big on admin man, so maybe the colouring was only the key to him- he orders all his thousands of little doodles into catogories(or thinks he does) it’s literally changed my/our lives, him having this. Could she colour in?
(Sorry if I sound antsy I’m deeply stressed about him taking his razor apart and ‘cleaning’ it all over the floor)
If you do go the music route, make it something that relaxes you too, don’t forget you and your evening is v important. Mozart is supposed to calm people on the spectrum as he was probably Aspergers-y and allegedly wrote to unknot his mind. Dad taps whistles and ‘conducts’ it, then cries because mum would’ve loved it....and then suddenly I’m mum, or my grandmother - even his sister(he’s an only child👀)and he’s whistling again
my first contribution and I’ll probs get banned for being too crazy xxx
Antihistamines
 

Catherine C

Registered User
Oct 15, 2020
15
Blimey, every night? That’s quite a routine..nice idea once, but it’d do my head in, reading poems and Winnie the Pooh in a darkened room every day with no prospect of how long this phase will go on. My dad draws or colours in, cuts endless tiny pieces of paper into tinier ones. Before that he needed almost constant attention, if tv was on it was all about his family, or he’d sleep all the evening which had him waking up in the night. It’s worked a treat. We tentatively put the tv back on (I feel we need a break too) one day and he’s hardly noticed. Mind you he was a big on admin man, so maybe the colouring was only the key to him- he orders all his thousands of little doodles into catogories(or thinks he does) it’s literally changed my/our lives, him having this. Could she colour in?
(Sorry if I sound antsy I’m deeply stressed about him taking his razor apart and ‘cleaning’ it all over the floor)
If you do go the music route, make it something that relaxes you too, don’t forget you and your evening is v important. Mozart is supposed to calm people on the spectrum as he was probably Aspergers-y and allegedly wrote to unknot his mind. Dad taps whistles and ‘conducts’ it, then cries because mum would’ve loved it....and then suddenly I’m mum, or my grandmother - even his sister(he’s an only child👀)and he’s whistling again
my first contribution and I’ll probs get banned for being too crazy xxx
Antihistamines
 

Catherine C

Registered User
Oct 15, 2020
15
Thanks... I dont think you’re too crazy!!! Im not sure Mum would colour in.... I did try it a while back and she didn’t seem to take to it..... she used to be very good with her hands, knitting all the time, she seems to find it a bit frustrating that she doesn’t have the same dexterity....mostly we are listening to music, and sometimes she manages to watch a bit of telly quite peacefully. It’s a good point it’s also our evening.... it’s trying to get a balance.... I sometimes do puzzle on the iPad and Mum sort of helps ..... which I find quite relaxing...