We donate money to Alzheimer’s Society, a charity that’s incredibly close to our hearts, you can read why, here.  

From our own personal experience we know that as the nights draw in and our days get much shorter, it can be extremely unsettling for those with Alzheimer’s. Here we explain why, how you can spot the signs and what the possible causes are so you can help loved ones that have Alzheimer’s. 

Sundowning is when someone with Alzheimer’s experiences distress due to the daylight getting shorter and it can sometimes interrupt their body clock. Sundowning is specific to those suffering with dementia, usually in the middle to late stages.  

 

What are the signs that someone with Alzheimer’s is experiencing sundowning?  

  • They become distressed 
  • Are agitated 
  • Have hallucinations/delusions 

 

What can cause it? According to Alzheimer’s Org: 

  • tiredness, hunger, pain or other unmet physical needs 
  • not enough exposure to sunlight during the day 
  • overstimulation during the day, such as from a noisy or busy environment 
  • disturbance to the person’s ‘body clock’ caused by damage to the brain 
  • disturbed levels of hormones that vary over the course of the day 
  • sensory impairment, such as hearing or sight loss 
  • tiredness in other people causing the person with dementia to become upset 
  • mood disorders, such as anxiety or depression 
  • fewer carers around to look after the person (in a care home) 
  • side effects of prescribed drugs. 

Some of these are related to the time of day, and others may happen at any time. Try to see if you can identify which of these problems might be affecting the person, as each problem may need a different treatment. 

 

Supporting Alzheimer’s Society is something that we are extremely passionate about. We’re passionate about supporting Alzheimer’s Society and about keeping people in the know as much as we possibly can.