Sundowner syndrome


New member
Apr 19, 2024
Hello, i am writing wondering if anyone has any advice! My mother aged 93 has been in a very good local care home for six months. She is comfortable there and the lovely staff are very caring. She is on no medication apart from paracetamol for back ache, is fairly mobile for her age but has macular degeneration and hearing aids. Her memory is getting worse, we have had a dementia test and she is now booked to see a psychiatrist but not till September. Either I or my brother pop in to see her most days. We can have a reasonable conversation with her, albeit very repetitive but almost every afternoon she rings one or both of us with different but repeated questions such as where will she sleep tonight; what time of day is it; how will she buy any food; does she have any money etc etc. We can usually reassure her and calm her down but it really does happen every day. She has a telephone in her room, which on reflection was possibly not a good idea. She won’t (or doesn’t remember) she can ask the staff and so they aren’t as aware as we are that this happens so frequently. I have mentioned it to them but she is very capable of appearing quite ‘together’ when she talks to them. We can cope but wonder if there is anything we can do to stop her getting so anxious so frequently. We leave memory notes around her room regarding times of meals etc and are thinking of making a memory book with reminders about her situation but I’m sure she’ll forget to look at it. Suggestions would be welcomed!


Registered User
Aug 24, 2013
Hello and welcome, sounds to me like you're doing a brilliant job under very trying circumstances. You're doing it all right, keep on doing. That and thank you to both you and your brother from me. K

Calon Lan

Registered User
May 21, 2024
Hello @Zoobix

I can understand your worries about your mum’s anxiety as my mum has similar sundowning symptoms.

My mum is 90 and has mixed Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia which was first diagnosed in 2019. Before she was diagnosed she was phoning me several times every day with various worries, often the same thing repeated several times a day. I never found a way to reduce her anxiety to prevent the calls. I tried to reassure her and calm her during the phone calls, but often it was very difficult.

My mum now lives in a nursing home. I am there to visit her every day. A lot of the residents who are well enough to be in communal areas have sundowning symptoms in the afternoon, including my mum. Some of the ladies there ask staff exactly the same questions that your mum is asking you, and they do it every day. The staff are very familiar with the problem and always do their best to help anyone who is anxious. It can be very difficult. Anti anxiety drugs are sometimes used if considered necessary.

My mum doesn’t have her own phone. She had never had one since moving into residential care about 15 months ago. I know I wouldn’t be able to cope with repeated phone calls. My mum is now extremely confused later in the afternoon.

I wish I had a better answer for you. Sundowning symptoms are very distressing for those who suffer from them, but also for carers trying their best to help.