Sundowners syndrome, also known as nocturnal delirium, is generally seen in early-stage Alzheimer’s, but it sometimes occurs in elderly people who are recovering from surgery or who find themselves in unfamiliar environments. The individual shows increased irritation, confusion, or disorientation that seems to come on in the late afternoon or evening hours.

Causes of Sundowners Syndrome

There is only speculation on why sundowners syndrome occurs in some dementia patients. One theory is that because the individual’s vision is already diminished, the loss of daylight leads to increased disorientation and agitation. Traumatic psychological events—recent loss of a loved one, functioning, or independence—may trigger sundowners. Changes in medication, routine, or caregivers may cause agitation. Even a noisy environment or frustration with toileting could bring on symptoms.

Symptoms of Sundowners Syndrome

Typical symptoms of sundowners include

  • rapid mood changes;
  • agitation;
  • anger;
  • crying;
  • pacing;
  • “shadowing” people;
  • repeatedly asking the same question, and interrupting before you can answer;
  • depression;
  • fear;
  • stubbornness;
  • restlessness; and
  • rocking.

More severe symptoms may include

  • hallucinations;
  • paranoia;
  • hiding objects;
  • violence; and
  • wandering.

Has Your Loved One Been Injured In A Nursing Home?

If you believe your loved one is being subjected to nursing home abuse you need to speak with an experienced Kentucky nursing home neglect attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 888.450.4456 to schedule a free consultation.

Matthew L. White
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Founder & Partner of Louisville Personal Injury Law Firm Gray & White Law

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