Back to Article List

Home Care Tips for Coping with Dementia & Sundown Syndrome

Sep 25, 2017 by Corinne Fello

In honor of World Alzheimer’s Awareness Month this September, Comfort Keepers of Pittsburgh is happy to share tips for coping with one of the most common problems associated with this disease.

As a memory illness progresses the symptoms seniors present often change. Sundown syndrome, also known as sundowning, is a symptom of Alzheimer’s that occurs in the middle stages of the disease. Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia are degenerative diseases. Professional home care can make it easier for your loved one to continue living comfortably and independently at home in familiar surroundings. The sleep disruption, confusion, and behavioral changes that come with sundowning can be overwhelming for family caregivers. Below are some tips for coping with sundown syndrome and other Alzheimer’s symptoms:

Recognize the Signs

Sundown syndrome, or sundowning, received its name because it’s symptoms typically occur in the late afternoon or evening. Alzheimer’s symptoms such as confusion are exacerbated by the end-of-day physical and mental exhaustion. According to the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregiver Center, as many as 20% of seniors with Alzheimer’s will experience increased anxiety, confusion, and agitation late in the day. Being able to recognize sundowning and other Alzheimer’s symptoms is the first step in providing proper home care for those with dementia.

Manage Triggers to Create a Safe Environment

Poor lighting and shadows often increase confusion and anxiety with seniors experiencing sundowning. Keep the home well-lit in the evenings to help your loved one recognize their surroundings and that they are safe. Since exhaustion contributes to Alzheimer’s symptoms, make a comfortable and safe sleep environment. Sticking to a sleep schedule and avoiding mental stimulants like caffeine, sugar, or watching television before bed are also helpful.

Know When to Look For Help

Even when you are able to identify Alzheimer’s symptoms and the negative effects of things like sundowning, there may come a time where professional help becomes necessary. Professional caregivers and senior living facilities specially trained in memory care may be better suited to care for your loved one. What is most important to know when coping with memory illnesses is that you are never alone.


If you are caring for a senior loved one in NE Pittsburgh, PA who has Alzheimer’s disease and you're interesting in learning more about home care services contact us or call (412) 406-7667 today.


Vet Fran
Franchise 500
World Class Franchise