Geriatrician Questions Geriatric Medicine

What does it mean when seniors "sundown"?

I am a 29 year old female. I hear that my grandpa is "sundowning". What does it mean when seniors "sundown"?

3 Answers

It refers to the observation that older individuals with dementia become more confused as the day progresses, particularly in the afternoon and evening. There are many factors that may be at play: fatigue, ones internal biological clock is no longer in sync with actual time of day, being overstimulated by surroundings etc. Ashok J Bharucha, MD, MA Phone: 844-647-1455 FAX: 877-511-8663 In the event of an emergency, email is not an appropriate form of communication. If you are in a crisis, please call 911 or proceed to your nearest emergency room. All pertinent practice policies are also available
Sundowning is term used to represent increasing confusion in people with cognitive impairment in the evening. There are many reasons this may happen. They include days end fatigue, change in sleep pattern. A doctor should see if there are any other medical reasons this is happening as well. There are meds available to help with evening agitation. See if you can find a Geriatrician or Geriatric psychiatrist to help or an internist with solid Geriatric skills. Good luck! Theresa M. Redling DO, FACP Chief, Geriatric Health Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center Director, Maida Geriatric Institute Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine Rutgers-New Jersey Medical School
"Sundowning" relates to patients diagnosed with dementia who become increasingly confused, agitated or delirious as the sun goes down (becomes night).