Sundown Syndrome | Norton Healthcare Louisville, Ky.

Sundown Syndrome

More Louisville and Southern Indiana patients in need of neurological or neurosurgical care get their treatment from Norton Neuroscience Institute’s nationally recognized specialists than any other provider in the area. Our providers have the experience and skills to help those with sundown syndrome and support their families.

What Is Sundown Syndrome?

As the day progresses, many people with dementia will show worsening confusion and other behaviors such as wandering. Sundown syndrome symptoms are usually at their worst late in the afternoon or early evening. Sundown syndrome symptoms can include:

  • Agitation and irritability
  • Delusions
  • False beliefs
  • Hallucinations
  • Increased confusion
  • Wandering

Sundowning Treatment

Sleep medications can make a condition worse for those who have a cognitive disorder like dementia.

Taking steps in the home to create a regular sleep-wake cycle can help.

  • Natural light and keeping lights on in the home during the day will help maintain the daytime orientation.
  • Physical activity and doing things that tire the person will help them sleep more at night.
  • Use meals to set a routine to the day.

Look for opportunities for scheduled social interactions. Isolation tends to cause patients to deteriorate faster, but a regular schedule of activities and visits can help establish a routine.

Also, be mindful of safety around the house. Put locks on doors and windows. Motion sensors are cheaper than you may think and can alert you that someone is up and about.

What Are the Early Signs of Sundowning?

The personality and behavioral changes associated with sundown syndrome can be subtle and inconsistent at first. There may be some signs of unusual confusion, irritability and disorientation. The changes may not happen every afternoon or evening, but as the condition progresses, the changes will be more noticeable and more consistently associated with time of day.

Norton Neuroscience Institute Resource Center, the Alzheimer’s Association and others offer resources to help families and individuals coping with sundown syndrome.

Care That’s Focused on You

  • We operate Norton Neuroscience Institute Resource Center, the area’s only center dedicated to helping you and your family navigate your lives. The Norton Healthcare Foundation funds this important service, so patients don’t need to pay.
  • We provide support groups and exercise classes and develop customized diet plans, and we can help with issues such as access to disability assistance; housing; and financial and employment advice.
  • Communicate with your provider, manage appointments, refill prescriptions and more anytime from a computer or mobile device with a free MyNortonChart account.

Louisville’s Leader in Neurological Care

More patients from Louisville and Southern Indiana seek treatment from Norton Neuroscience Institute’s nationally recognized neurologists and neurosurgeons than any other provider in the area.

  • We have more than 60 medical, surgical and research specialists dedicated to providing innovative care to those with brain, spine and nervous system conditions.
  • We use advanced minimally invasive neurosurgery equipment that can speed recovery and minimize pain.
  • Our multidisciplinary clinics offer easy access to specialists in oncology, cardiology, orthopedics and behavioral health.
  • Norton Healthcare has the largest network of accredited stroke centers in the area.
    • Norton Brownsboro Hospital’s designation as a Comprehensive Stroke Center by The Joint Commission and American Stroke Association represents the highest level of care.
    • The Joint Commission also certified Norton Audubon Hospital and Norton Hospital as Primary Stroke Centers and Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital as an Acute Stroke Ready Hospital.
  • Norton Neuroscience Institute Resource Center navigators help educate patients and their families about new diagnoses, available treatments and managing their disease.
  • We are nationally recognized by Becker’s Hospital Review as a Top 100 neurosurgery and spine program.
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