1. Michael E

    Michael E Registered User

    Apr 14, 2005
    Ronda Spain
    A little advice please,

    'Sundowning' has moved in with a vengeance - generated by a fear of being alone for a moment and a change in drugs which the neurologist feels will alleviate occasional 'Parkinson's' type symptoms.

    (I really do question if the extra anguish and anxiety is worth the more aware and fewer shakes instead of the previous, relatively calm, regime?... Deep moral question I suspect ... still... makes you wonder)

    So the practical question is -

    Once 'Sundowning' has established itself does it continue or is it like other 'phases' and after a time passes, changes or does it just get worse..?

    Interesting learning curve this AD lark!

  2. Lila13

    Lila13 Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    My mother's sundowning episodes occurred occasionally, no regular pattern, generally when she was upset about something, but you know how difficult it is to predict (let alone prevent) those upsets.

    I tried to persuade her to go out for a walk in the late afternoon, the postbox or the park, in the hope that then she'd be too tired to go out at night.

    Before she was ill (going back over many years) she used to go out for late-night or early morning walks, to walk worries away, (only a few years ago she'd broken up a bottle fight by walking into the middle of it), so in a way the sundowning was only trying to continue what she'd always done, the only difference being that with old age frailty it wasn't safe because of falls.
  3. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    near London
    Hi Michael

    with Jan's sundowning, it lasted perhaps a year. I tried to ease the worst of it using medication - can't remember what it was now, but I laced her drinks with it at the slightest sign - while it made things less bad, it did not stop them.

    The sundowning caused the only slight friction we ever had in our marriage.

    As her condition worsened, even the wish 'to go home' left her.

    It is one of those things.... we're relieved the sundowning has gone, but then are faced with someone who is not as well as when sundowning. Double edged sword, and there is no winning.

    However, it was such a relief not to have the sundowning, which was possibly one of the worst aspects of the dementia.

    Good luck
  4. Amy

    Amy Registered User

    Jan 4, 2006
    Hiya Michael,
    We too had to resort to medication for the sundowning - unfortunately it impaired mum's abiluty to communicat at other times of day as well - but dad could not have gone on without the medication.
    It passes.
    Love Helen
  5. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    What is `sundowning`please?
  6. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    near London
    Hi Grannie G

    probably best to use the Search facility on TP - just type in 'sundowning' and check results.

    Basically, it is manifested when the person with dementia becomes agitated - usually late in the day, hence 'sundowning' - and wants to go 'home' even though they may already be in their home of 40 years.

    They may walk out and go wandering, they may get really mad if stopped.

    Distraction sometimes works ... "wait just a while and I'll go with you" then you hope they forget. Medications can calm them. Locking doors may keep them in but may lead to huge frustration and even violence [hitting the door].

    Some people think it is related to SAD and recommend light boxes.

    It is a nasty part of the dementia story, and trying to reason with them ["this IS your home"] simply makes things worse.
  7. Margarita

    Margarita Registered User

    Feb 17, 2006
    #7 Margarita, Nov 17, 2006
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2006
    Yes my mother gets that now and then , more so on the days she does not go today centre , she just gets in to her head that she wants something or go somewhere late in the evening around 6’0clock , she does not wonder of as she knows she can not walk far on her own . if her routine is out of order she go in to one as in talk in an anger voice , if left alone while I take an early night and she not tried from going to daycentre , she in out my room checking I am there or opening front door looks out come back in .

    There no way I can leave her alone , someone got to be in the house , I can pop out in the morning to take dog out because she know my daughter our in bed .

    I had an old lap top fix that I use in Gibraltar in it I had done a diary in Microsoft word , it said “ mum keeps wakening me up for breakfast in the middle of the night” she was on medication for AZ then only 1 year since being diagnosed.

    Now nearly 3 half years on , lucky for me ,she does not do that anymore but I remember how mum use to wonder of a lot back then , not sure if it’s the medication or mum feels more safe in my flat in England with all my teenagers around her , because mum sleeps all night now and I have to wake her , only on Sunday if I am not up for 9 am mum wake me up .

    As that’s part of her routine to be up by 9am , where carer come in at 7:30 every day to wash mum , but not on Sunday , sorry I have gone on
  8. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    Thanks Brucie. I did type `sundowning` in the search facility, but all I got was the thread starter.
  9. sandy25

    sandy25 Registered User

    Nov 30, 2005
    Oh my god thats what my dad has just started doing - didn't realise there was a word for it, an established symptom. the other night apparently he stood up and said, 'i want to go home now'. Mum didn't realise what was going on. Then he thought that the fire place was a set of doors and sat down in front of it saying he was going to climb in. thankfully its not a real fire!

    how long is this sundowning meant to last? i think dad has been getting it at 7-8 at night so seems quite late. but he has been getting more agitated recently. How come a lot of people get it then - is it really a daylight issue or a stage of the dementia?
  10. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    #11 Grannie G, Nov 18, 2006
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2006
    Thank you Brucie. Now I know where we`re at.

    All my husband`s confusion about where we live, be it India, where he was born, Manchester and Bury, where he lived for 50 years and Kent where we are now, and `wanting to go home` is `sundowning`.

    Now I feel the guilt about moving here has been lifted from my shoulders, as wherever we live wouldn`t provide the security he had before Alz reared it`s ugly head. All these places have become one, and all are in the past.

    Another Stage reached.

  11. Norman

    Norman Registered User

    Oct 9, 2003
    Birmingham Hades
    Hi Sandy25
    I don't wish to worry you but my wife has been sundowning now on and off for 11+years.
    It used to be evening time but now can happen anytime.
    Every case is different,I do wonder how long other sufferers have experienced it?
  12. maria29al

    maria29al Registered User

    Mar 15, 2006
    My Mum seems to be the other way...late in the evening, she barracades herself in..using dining room chairs against the front door!!!!...When I go round in the morning all the chairs are in the wrong places and I have to put them all back. Keep telling her that locking the door is enough but it makes no difference! Still, at least she is in the house.
  13. susiewoo

    susiewoo Registered User

    Oct 28, 2006
    Bromley Kent
    It is somehow comforting to know that this behaviour is 'normal' and even has a name...I must remember to see if any of the nurses at the psychiatric unit where Mum was admitted last week have heard this phrase. She has been started on quitiapine(anti-psychotic) but continues to talk nonsense and walks around like a caged animal.
  14. connie

    connie Registered User

    Mar 7, 2004
    Whilst dear Lionel was 'at home' I could sometimes head off the sundownig episodes.

    Now his mobility has gone, and he is in a care home, he just "asks to go to bed" no matter what the time. This is his safety net.
  15. Lila13

    Lila13 Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    Sometimes I tried barricading my mother in, as I have no idea how often she went out without me hearing her, and if she had to move chairs in the night I thought at least I'd be more likely to hear her.

    Although she was used to pottering around the house and garden and going out after dark, she didn't approve of us ("the children") doing so. Once when my aunt was staying with her and she set off down the road after dark in her nightie, the aunt brought her back and asked her where she was going. "Looking for the children." That was us, me over 50, my brother over 60.

    I wouldn't even go over the common on my own by daylight, and she used to go there on her own in the middle of the night when there were drunks around having fights.

    It didn't help that the doctor she saw in January at the Rapid Results Clinic said there was nothing wrong with her and she could go wherever she liked whenever she liked and wear whatever she liked.
  16. DaisyG

    DaisyG Registered User

    Feb 20, 2006
    North West England
    Sundowning.... and ..... Shadowing

    I was going to start a thread like this myself over the weekend, but I've had a bad time with a cold.

    My husband seems to have all the 'sundowning symptoms'... but it can occur at ALL and ANY times of the day.

    It's been like this for some time now.... SO has the shadowing / following ... constantly 'checking up on me'.

    He's saying A LOT now to family that "I am up to something".
    I wish I had the time to 'get up to something' !!

    Take Care,

  17. mel

    mel Registered User

    Apr 30, 2006
    Mum has been sundowning for nearly 2 years......she's doing it now as I speak!!
    I don't like locking her in but its the only way to keep her safe.....and even though her mobility is very poor she made an escape bid on Friday.........
  18. sandy25

    sandy25 Registered User

    Nov 30, 2005
    Is there any suggestion that 'sundowning' is more of a symtom associated with AD - rather than vascular dementia? Or does it fit under the hat of all dementia's. I've been thinking alot lately about my Dad and whether there is any chance he should have had a mixed diagnosis of both AD & VD.
    He's never seen a neurologist over the 6 years he's had it, but even so, maybe a neuroglogist couldn't give a better diagnosis? :confused:
  19. dmc

    dmc Registered User

    Mar 13, 2006
    hi all

    after reading the posts ive just realised that my mum is also sundowning, she came home a few days last week but dad had to phone at tea time saying she wouldnt settle with him and wanted to go home, my solution was to put her in the car and drive her around for about 15 mins then take her back to dad she seemed quite happy then to go in and settled for the night, the trouble is now its happening every night im beginning to wonder if ive made a mistake by taking her "home" in the car becouse she seems to expect it all the time.
    or rather my dad as its a way of calming her down.
    and he gets some time to himself.
    she's due home again tomorrow till saturday better fill the car up i think:rolleyes:
    take care all x

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