Geriatric Psychiatrist Questions Geriatric Psychiatrist

What is sundowning in seniors?

I am a 50 year old female. My mother says that my 79 year old father is sundowning. What is sundowning in seniors?

1 Answer

Sundowning refers to the fact that older individuals, typically those who are diagnosed with dementia, become more fatigued, confused, and bewildered as the day progresses. The individual can become more disoriented, restless, demanding, clingy, and possibly even aggressive, in the early to late afternoon. Although it was commonly believed that the problem arises later in the afternoon, more recent evidence suggests it may start even earlier, perhaps not long after lunch time. The factors leading to sundowning are likely multiple, but damage to their internal biological clock probably plays a major role.