What is the correlation between Sundowners and dementia?

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Both of my elderly parents - of whom I am caregiving - have some type of dementia. As of the last year or so, and especially the last 6 months, I have noticed a difference in them mid - late afternoon and into the early evening. They get grumpy and nasty, not only with me but with each other. Why does dementia bring about this Sundowner's Syndrome and how do I defend against it? It just drives me crazy and I get really frustrated with the situation being that it is two of them going at it.

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Sundowning is a group of symptoms that affect people with dementia. You may not be able to avoid it altogether but there are things you can do that might make things easier for you and for your parents.

- Have a routine and stick to it
- No caffeine after 12pm
- Arrange the schedule so that you're not asking or expecting anything of your parents when they begin to sundown. For example, make sure they've had their medications and provide snacks and drinks.
- Cut down or alleviate activity around your parents. Increased stimulation can cause increased agitation.

It must be extremely difficult caring for two parents who have dementia. I hope you're getting some respite on a regular basis so you don't end up needing someone to care for you too.
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