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Sundowners syndrome, also known as sundowning, is a condition often associated with the early stages of Alzheimer’s, although a definitive connection has not been made. Sundowners syndrome can also be considered a mood disorder or even a sleep disorder. Sufferers experience periods of extreme agitation and confusion during the late afternoon or early evening hours, leading to irritability towards caregivers or hospital staff. It was once believed that sundowners syndrome was a result of missed day/night light cues, hence the sudden onset at sundown.

Caregivers and nursing home staff members can often anticipate an elderly patient’s bout of sundowners syndrome. A period of irrational thoughts and irritable behavior might begin after the last meal of the day and last until bedtime, for example. One theory concerning sundowners syndrome is that the constant daily mental processes for normal living can become overwhelming for the elderly during evening hours. They simply have too much incoming information and their restricted cognitive abilities become overloaded. The result is a period of irritability and negative thoughts.
There are other conditions which closely resemble sundowners syndrome, especially in unfamiliar hospital settings. Some elderly patients may become confused or irritable as a result of the anesthetics used during their surgeries. Others who spend time in the ICU or are connected to noisy medical equipment may experience a condition called hospital psychosis, which may also be especially noticeable during evening hours. But hospital psychosis can affect any age group, while sundowners syndrome is generally limited to the elderly population.
Dealing with a loved one suffering from sundowners syndrome can be very frustrating, but professional caregivers suggest several ways of coping with the confusion and irritability. Providing an area of complete privacy for the patient may allow him or her to process information away from visitors and other distractions. Pursuing quiet activities during the afternoon and early evening may encourage a better night’s rest. It may also help to keep in mind that the patient’s outbursts and bizarre demands are not always under their control. Sundowners syndrome is a real phenomenon for patients, so caregivers should exercise restraint when dealing with loved ones experiencing periods of confusion at night.

Tags

healing, psychosis, loved ones, sundowners

Comments

  • Juilee  Pryor
    Juilee Pryoralmost 5 years ago

    a very beautiful image butch

  • hey JP thanks so much… it’s actually the view out my fathers window.. as he is currently experiencing some “sundowners” i was drawn to try and capture both the view and the essence of the psychosis… i hope you are doing good……… love and light…..b

    – butchart

  • midzing
    midzingalmost 5 years ago

    fantastic work ,,,I worked in a nursing home for 6 years,, its very difficult to care, and watch people going through this,,,, beautiful work on a difficult subject,,,, well done

  • hey my friend… i was just explaining to julie above… yes.. it can be very hard for everyone.. i’m so glad you understand and sw what i was trying to portray….. thank you so much for your input….. love and light….b

    – butchart

  • RaOrEmraeh
    RaOrEmraehalmost 5 years ago

    An interesting image….in ways beautiful, but also can be seen as disturbing, depending on what the texture represents. Thank you for the lesson in Sundowners Syndrome.

  • hey cass… thank you sweet one…. and you are welcome…… i had never heard of “sundowners” until recently… it’s a pretty wild ride…… hope you are doing well……. big kiss….b

    – butchart

  • Ushna Sardar
    Ushna Sardaralmost 5 years ago

    fabulous image b!

  • thank you so much Ushna.. it’s good to see you.. i hope you have been well…….. b

    – butchart

  • Deborah Milligan
    Deborah Milliganalmost 5 years ago

    oh butch that is a powerful image. You have absolutely captured the essence. thanks for sharing it :)

  • hey deb… it’s good to see you… i haven’t been around much lately so i’ve missed seeing friends… thank you for the kind words.. i hope that you’ve been well…….. peace and light……b

    – butchart

  • robpixaday
    robpixadayalmost 5 years ago

    Awwwwwww, sweetie……((((((((((((((((((hugs)))))))))))))))))) for both of you…..

    It’s all so much to deal with. Your image here is amazing in its capture of that agitated murkiness that seems to descend on people who are experiencing the syndrome.

    I’m so very very very happy to see you………………thank you for sharing this.

    ::smoooooochies::

  • thanks so much dear friend for your kind words……. i’m happy to be here as well……… much love and light………b

    – butchart

  • Ushna Sardar
    Ushna Sardaralmost 5 years ago

  • i’m honoured…. thank you dear one…. love and light….b

    – butchart

  • Robin Webster
    Robin Websteralmost 5 years ago

    A beautiful image and fascinating reading. I was not familliar with this syndrome. I imagine it must be very difficult to deal with both for the sufferer and the caregiver.

  • hi robin.. thanks for your kind comment…… and yes it is a difficult syndrome.. but as with all things..love has a way of helping us get through it………. peace and light……b

    – butchart

  • Shanina Conway
    Shanina Conwayalmost 5 years ago

    Wonderful image butch and thank you so much for this information, it’s fascinating reading and not something I was aware of….

  • thank you shanina… i wasn’t aware of it either until just recently……. and it’s a very hard thing to witness……. i hope you are well……. love and light….b

    – butchart

  • tkrosevear
    tkrosevearalmost 5 years ago

    Brilliant image to accompany very important narrative B ;) xoxox ♥

  • thank you so much tk……. it’s good to see you…… peace and light……b

    – butchart

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