Symptoms of Sundowners can be varied but the key is that the symptoms occur in the late afternoon or evening, or in the case of someone with more severe dementia, the symptoms worsen at night. These symptoms, which are also symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease and other types of dementia,
These symptoms can be dangerous, both for the person with the Syndrome and for anyone around them. There are multiple publications and web sources which include instruction and real world experience in caring for someone with sundowners or dementia. Please see our caregivers guide for more information.
You may find that your loved one is suddenly seeing angels in the room or believes you have stolen something. They may not recognize you or become terrified at the thought of your leaving even for a moment. The behavior is illogical and irrational, but bear in mind that someone with the symptoms of sundowners cannot control these behaviors.
Wandering is especially dangerous because the person with Sundowner’s will suddenly be missing and may not know where he or she is going or why. Without identification, people with the Syndrome have become lost and unable to find their way back home.
- Rapid mood changes
The most difficult symptoms of sundowners to deal with are:
- Hiding Things
People with Sundowner’s Syndrome may also “shadow” you, following you around and doing everything you do. They might ask you questions over and over or interrupt you when you’re speaking to someone else. They may lose their full language abilities, and abstract thoughts may become especially difficult for them to comprehend.
Keep in mind that if someone has a paranoid or hallucinatory episode, there’s no point in trying to convince them they’re wrong. It simply won’t work, and they will most likely not remember the episode in the morning. These can be considered symptoms of sundowners. For more clarification on the matter, please consult an eldercare professional.