Today Dad called to ask where is his home. These phone calls really rattle me.Today is the 4th of July and it is dark, gloomy and raining. Dad lives in a very nice Independent Living facility that has Assisted Living options which I recently ordered. The Staff also had noted the recent sundowning.

Dad called me this afternoon saying he plans to go home but he can't remember where home is. I mentioned to him to look around the room, does the furniture look familiar... and he said yes. I said he is in his home. Oh ok.... then he said he will stay the night then go home.

Then I distracted him and asked him how was the 4th of July lunch? He talked about that for a minute, then he was back on where does he live.

Dad never been tested for dementia but all the signs are there for sundowning. With the sky being dark apparently the sundowning came on earlier this afternoon. Dad did say he is confused, so he knows something isn't quite right. Are there any meds that might help him?

It's only been a month or so of this sundowning, but I still can't wrap my brain around this. This is still so new to me. But after we finish our phone call, I am very jittery. I have been seeing my own primary doctor to get help with these shakes, waiting for the meds to finally kick in... soon I hope.

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Pamzimmnt, my Dad tends to nap in his recliner in the afternoon, after his personal caregiver leaves at 1pm. Now I am wondering when he wakes up is when he can become confused about what time of day is it, or did he think he slept through to the next day. Dad has a "day clock" but I don't think he pays attention to it any more.

The Independent Living facility has levels of care that one can purchase. Last month I ordered the whole package so that an Aide will check on Dad every couple of hours after the caregiver leaves, and an Aide will come in later in the evening to help Dad get ready for bed.

Even if Dad plans to attend a "meeting" at the company where he retired 30 years ago he won't get far, he has trouble getting up out of his recliner and when he does he is so tired he can't walk very far with his walker. But I still worry about that.
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Oh FF I am so sorry.. good luck with this. We had the ILs for 3 days this week, and I really noticed my MIL is there now. She takes alot of naps during the day, sleeps well at night.. but she got really agitated each evening at about 5 on. Pacing, wondering why everyone was not in the house, wanting to go "home", getting agitated. I was a nervous wreck waiting for her to fall. She shut all the blinds in the house, locked my hubs out one night!
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I'm big on schedules. My grandma has a specific schedule she follows. I have helpers who only come in the morning to give me a break each day. After 3 I have the house cleared but for the immediate family she recognizes. She needs to stick to her schedule or honestly the sundowning gets worse. I have split up her nighttime schedule into three parts to keep her nighttime busy. She also takes pills which helps. At 4 she starts the sundowning asking about where everyone is, starts the repetitive questions about where she will stay tonight, what is she supposed to do etc. At 4, to help with that, we give her a snack. Then at 4:30 she takes a stomach pill along with the last of her sugar pills to help distract her, then I let her know I'm cooking dinner. She has her chair next to the kitchen so she can watch me cook. Then she eats between 5 and 5:30. I try my best to make sure it's always at this time so it gives the same amount of time between that and getting ready for bed. I usually clean the kitchen after dinner and she watches me do that and I let her know as she repeatingly asks me questions, that I'm cleaning up the kitchen for bed then I'll help get her ready.

Now I watch my niece and nephew. At 6 is their bedtime routine. She watches as I get them ready for bed, giving a bath if needed (which is also connected to the living room making it so that even if she can't see them in the bathtub which I sometimes on the really bad days include her, she can at least see me in the bathroom with them), and getting them their nighttime medicine.

At 7 they are settled and it's her turn again. At 7 every night she goes to get dressed for bed which seems to start the relaxation period. It's a routine we do every time. Then she takes her nighttime pills at 7:30. At 8 she eats her nighttime snack being a diabetic, then at 9 after she puts her feet up and relaxes surrounded by her pillows and blankets and being reminded a few times that she's sleeping here with me for the night, I take her to the bathroom for the last time before she goes to sleep. Then she relaxes with me by her side and she falls asleep then I go to bed for the night.

For her routine helps so much. Keeping the lights on at nighttime and the window blinds closed helps. Keeping her busy helps as well. Having everyone surrounding her making her feel safe and comfortable helps as well. Being dressed for bed and having her feet up helps.

Sundowning is tough. She has struggled with that for over 4 years and it has been a huge learning experience. I wish you luck and know that even if they repeat themselves, reminding them and reassuring them goes a long way. They just need to know they are home, are safe and that someone will care for them and be there for them.
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Thank you all for your answers, it gave me food for thought. Funny, when I read up on dementia a couple of years ago I would give advice from what I read, but now that it is happening to my Dad I have forgotten just about everything that I had read :P Reading it, and experiencing it are so different.

How that I think back, I do believe whenever Dad is confused is when there was a change in his daily schedule. Such as going to doctor appointments, his morning caregiver will drive him and they will stop for fast food, which Dad enjoys.
And yesterday was the 4th of July luncheon with singing. Again, not routine for Dad.
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What we did was make sure that Mom was always in her room at rehab, then at home, as the afternoon began to wear on. No late afternoon appointments, no late afternoon/early evening dinners, nothing to put her in the position of being away from her home as the afternoon and then evening wore on.

We realized how disruptive seguing from afternoon to evening can be once when we returned from a late afternoon doctor appointment. It was just too confusing for her.

When she stayed with me for awhile and wanted to go home, my sister told me to tell her that it was too late and too unsafe for us to be out driving, but that I would take her home tomorrow. By tomorrow morning she had forgotten about wanting to go home.

My sister also suggested planning activities that could segue from late afternoon into early evening, activities with which Mom was familiar. So I did laundry in the afternoon and she hung it (I don't use a dryer) in the evening. Next evening she'd fold it. We ate just about at sundown so there was a pleasant activity taking place at that time.

Providing another alternative to thinking about the upcoming evening can help ease the transition. Music in the afternoon also helped.
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A few things for you to think about.
Change the light bulbs in his room to LED they are brighter than fluorescent bulbs and incandescent bulbs. Keep as many lights on as possible.
Vision is a problem and with the dim lighting and poor vision falls are more common.
As far as your Dad saying he wants to go home I read that when someone says they "want to go home" it may not be a physical home but they want to return to when they were safe and they were not in a constant state of confusion. What to do, what to say, where are my glasses, where are my keys, what time is lunch, where do I go.....All these running through a persons head can be frightening so "wanting to go home" where they were safe and whole and healthy makes sense. It scares me thinking about how frightening it must be to be lost in your own head!
Reassure him that he is alright, he is safe and you will see him soon.
You may want to get an appointment with a neuro -psychologist and a neurologist for an assessment.
While there are no meds that will "cure" dementia a diagnosis of the type of dementia is important. With some forms of dementia some classes of medication can be dangerous. Anti anxiety medications can help if they are necessary.
Do not be afraid to take the medications (for him and for you!) carefully monitored the medications will help keep one even keeled not comatose. It may take a bit to get the dose right but it is worth it.
Keeping active will help your Dad pass the time and may result in getting a good night sleep. Keeping on a schedule is important as well.
Best of luck to both of you
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You poor thing. I always think of you as a pillar of strength with all you've been through. It just never occurred to me that dementia was a hurdle you haven't yet really encountered - stubborness and old age caring, certainly - but not really dementia. Of course you're rattled! I remember when my mom first started to call me in the middle of the night to ask if it was am or pm. I could not wrap my head around how this smart woman - two masters degrees - couldn't make that determination if not by common sense reasoning at a minimum. It's damn frightening. Worst of all perhaps, is you had just gotten your dad into a place where you thought he'd do well and maybe you could take a breath. While it puts you back on the merry-go-round, please consider taking your father to a geriatric psychitrist - it has made all the difference in the world for my mom and me. I wish I had known about it and done it way sooner. And - my mom was not medicated into a complacent zombie- the medication magically just leveled out her moods and made her more herself. Please consider it sooner rather than later -
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How much, if any, security does the Independent Living facility provide where he is living?

I'd make sure he is evaluated, just to confirm what is causing the confusion, and if it is dementia, I'd explore switching him to a secure facility. This extra security would likely calm your nerves and give you more peace that he will stay put in the afternoons. That way there would be someone with him at all times to assure him that he is at home.
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You poor honey!

Rattled in the right word. As soon as we get our heads wrapped around the new normal, it changes again, right?

Has dad been tested for a UTI? Is there a geriatric psychiatrist who sees him at the facility? When my mom was in IL, there was a geripsych who visited clients in their rooms; she adjusted meds and kept in contact with me when Mom needed changes.

I hope this clears up soon. Take care of yourself; so glad that you're seeing your doc.
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