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Has anyone ever heard of this ? She becomes combative and irritable when we tell her she is in her own house..

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I handle sundowning with scheduling. I turn on lights too early so that the change is gradual. I close curtains around 4 and turn on lights to make it brighter but her body still feels it. Instead what I did was change the routine. Every half hour she does something to break it up and I get her dressed for bed early. That seems to settle her down so she knows she's staying there for the night and has clothes to do so. She seem to sundown cuz she gets nervous about what will happen to her at night .She worries about getting home (even though she is home) and worries about people still being outside but at least with everyone around her dressed for bed it seems to relief some of that tension in her.
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My mom is 88. My dad died last May at 90. My mom has had short term memory but it's dementia. Since dad's death she has declined drastically. After 8 mos I finally got her on Medicaid so she could live at home with aides. She has no health problems. She started the sundowning mos ago. My dad had the same, but he had COPD and congestive heart failure so not the same. But I have found that lorazepam at 3:30 has helped be less anxious and we turn on just about all the lights in the house about 4 to help. My mom uses a walker and needs help with just about everything. She's forgotten how to do simple things: use toilet, change clothes, brush, make coffee, etc.
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My MIL started sundowning earlier this year. She had another stroke in Dec, now the sundowning starts at around 1pm. We just try to keep her happy until bedtime, then every light off when she sleeps. We tried a nightlight but she stayed up all night and that was not fun,lol. so lights on during the day, lights off at night and she is now sleeping thru the night.
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My Father does this and I try to plan an activity that he enjoys right before actual sundown. We have looked through magazines, he sometimes takes a shower then, anything but sitting if possible. His time is usually 7 to 9 pm.
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My son's are 25 & 29. My Mom has 24/7 care from her aides. I thank God everyday for them. I got her into a neurologist tomorrow..I will let you know how things go.. Thanks
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My Dad had moved quickly to Independent Living right after my Mom had passed [Mom had refused to move], as he felt at 94 having a house to maintain was getting too difficult.   Dad did have Caregivers around the clock and he enjoyed having them there but it was becoming very expensive.  Selling his house and using the equity helped pay for his monthly rent.

Months later once my Dad was showing signs of Sundowning, the Staff at the Independent Living suggested it was time to move Dad into Assisted Living Memory Care.   Of course the Memory Care suite was very small compared to his IL apartment.... but the Staff said they noticed the patient felt safer being in a smaller room surrounded by the things they could bring in,  it was like being in a cocoon.
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My mom who has dementia also has sundowners syndrome. Possibly leaving a night light on, a shade or curtain opened slightly might help as the dark and shadows seem to trick her mind. I would also recommend not moving furniture objects around as this might help them with familiarity. Make sure she is safe and she possibly needs someone to keep an eye around the clock so she does not get hurt or wander around. Just some suggestions. Hugs and prayers to you
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A very good, educational read is " Thirty-Six Hour Day". Very informative!
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Make sure that neurologist specializes in treatment of dementia! There are some that do not have a clue on how to treat.
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Kim, how old are your son's? Care your mom needs is going to increase exponentially. Find Alzheimer's caregiver support groups for all of you.
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My name is Kim and i want to thank you for answering me :) She is going to a neurologist this month..
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Thank you for your answers. I have read about Dementia and she does have it.. I didn't know about the sundowning.. I will agree with her from now on. She did get mad when i corrected her. She has 24/7 care and my 2 sons live with her.
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Msfriendly, sundowning is a symptom that many with dementia show. Best course of action is not disagreeing with her. That will make her angry. Tell her she is visiting you and you love having her, that she will go home tomorrow. Are you living with her? Is anybody living with her? Has she been diagnosed with dementia?

It would be wise for you to read up on dementia on this site as well as the Alzheimer's Association. Learn about the disease, it's symptoms and how best to help her.
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MsFriendly, my Dad had sundowning.   During the day he was ok, but come 4pm he started to become a bit confused, and after dinner he wasn't sure where he was.

Dad would call me saying he was at a meeting but it ran late, so he had missed his bus, and will stay at the hotel.   Well, Dad wasn't at any meeting... last time he took a bus for work was in the 1940's.... the hotel was his Independent Living/Assisted Living complex.

What you need to do is agree with your Mom when she is sundowning.   Trying to correct her will only make Mom confused and you frustrated.   If she says she wants to go home, tell her "maybe tomorrow".   With dementia, most of the time when someone says they want to go home, they mean their childhood home.

For my Dad when he calls saying he can't remember things, I would just tell him "oh that is part of aging, I have the same problem", then I would tell him about things I can't remember and we would start laughing.   It made him feel better :)
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