Dear Dr. Archer,
The home health aide who takes care of my mother, who has Alzheimer's, said she was "sundowning". What does that mean and should we be concerned?
Sundowning means that your mother becomes increasingly confused at the end of the day and into the night. This is a symptom that is often seen in dementia patients. The causes include dim light, increased shadows, fatigue and unfamiliar activity.
Now Sherry, you can reduce this type of disorientation in your mother by following a regular routine in the late afternoon and evening hours. Also, avoid visitors to the house at this time, encourage a mid-afternoon nap or quiet time and put up night lights in dark areas. Take care.