Sundown Syndrome

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

Sundown syndrome can include:

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

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.

Sundown Syndrome 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 Sundown Syndrome?

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

It’s part of Norton Neuroscience Institute’s goal to care for the whole person, not just the condition.

  • Norton Neuroscience Institute Resource Centers offer ways to improve your access to care, provide valuable information on managing your disease and address your quality of life issues. The Norton Healthcare Foundation funds this important service, so patients don’t need to pay.
  • Dedicated patient navigators can help schedule follow-up appointments, coordinate prescription assistance, create customized diet plans and provide guidance on disability benefits, housing, financial and employment concerns and more.
  • Patients can access support groups, exercise classes and other educational events to connect with others and learn how to make the most of life while managing a neurological condition. 
  • Access an on-demand video library of educational content across a variety of condition related topics is available.
  • We want to help prevent illness. Get help quitting smoking and learn the signs of stroke.
  • Communicate with your provider, manage appointments, refill prescriptions and more anytime from a computer or mobile device with a free Norton MyChart account.

A Louisville Leader in Neurological Care

More patients from Louisville and Southern Indiana seek their neurology and neurosurgery care from Norton Neuroscience Institute’s nationally recognized specialists than any other providers in the area.

Your Norton Neuroscience Institute medical provider has the expertise, experience, diagnostic tools and sophisticated treatments to provide care tailored to your needs.

  • More than 75 medical, surgical and research specialists are dedicated to providing innovative care to those with brain, spine and nervous system conditions.
  • Advanced, minimally invasive neurosurgery equipment can speed your recovery and minimize pain.
  • Multidisciplinary clinics provide easy access to care in one convenient appointment for your neurological condition, with specialists in oncology, cardiology, orthopedics and behavioral health.
  • Norton Healthcare’s four adult-service hospitals in Louisville are certified by DNV, recognizing excellence and expertise in stroke care.
    • Norton Brownsboro Hospital is recognized as a Comprehensive Stroke Center.
    • Norton Audubon Hospital and Norton Hospital are Primary Stroke Centers.
    • Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital is an Acute Stroke Ready Hospital.
  • The American Heart Association Get With the Guidelines stroke care program has recognized all four of Norton Healthcare’s adult service-hospitals in Louisville for exceeding national averages in getting patients in the door and administering lifesaving treatment to restore blood flow to the brain.
  • Norton Neuroscience Institute’s multiple sclerosis (MS) program has been designated a Center for Comprehensive MS Care by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
  • The National Association of Epilepsy Centers has recognized Norton Neuroscience Institute as a Level 4 Epilepsy Center, providing the highest level of medical and surgical evaluation and treatment for patients with complex epilepsy.
  • Norton Neuroscience Institute Resource Center navigators help educate patients and their families about new diagnoses, available treatments and ways to manage their disease.
  • We are listed by Becker’s Hospital Review as one of 100 great neurosurgery and spine programs.

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