How Do I Get Through the Day and What is Sundowning?

By September 9, 2019Resources for Seniors

Making lists for the day

Plan, plan, plan. I guess you can tell I am all about planning for the day ahead. How else will you remember all that needs to be done? Do you have any appointments? Need to get groceries and supplies? Make lists because you just cannot remember everything that you need to do for yourself and your loved one.

It makes your day more manageable to have a plan. I do not mean to say it will be easier, just, hopefully, less stressful if you have a plan.

 Sundowning begins

I highly recommend doing all your outside activities before lunch. It seems the afternoon is for taking naps. Anytime after 3:00 pm is when Sundowning may occur. Sundowning has been explained to me as a state of confusion, anxiety, aggression or ignoring directions. Many folks who experience sundowning will pace or try to wander.

Sundowning isn’t a disease, but a group of symptoms that occur at a specific time of the day that may affect people with dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease. The exact cause of this behavior is unknown. I describe many reasons and tips for dealing with sundowning in Chapter 7 of my book, Simply Caring.

Plan to stay busy

Even with planning, the day will be long. Those with Alzheimer’s have a difficult time entertaining themselves. The attention span for any task is about 15 minutes. A thought to keep you on cue: the busier you keep your loved one, the less busy they will keep you. You must have activities at the ready such as coloring books, word search, puzzles, movies or favorite shows.

Repetition is one of the more challenging behaviors that the caregiver will need to handle. Words may be repeated. Constantly walking in circles. Repetitive behavior which mimics an obsessive-compulsive disorder. Hoarding and rummaging. It can be common for someone with Alzheimer’s to pick up everything. They will try to be helpful by putting things away. Mostly this does not help.

Always practice Safety First

My last thought is to please not leave someone diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia home alone. Remember Safety First. You must be their protector.

Highlights from the book Simply Caring: Putting the Alzheimer’s Puzzle Together by Almost Home CEO Jamie Glavich. View more at

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