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A Caregiver Training Guide to Sundowning

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Hi, and welcome to our caregiver training series. I’m Nick and I’m one of the team members here at myCNAjobs. Today we’re going to be talking about Sundowning, also known as Sundowner’s Syndrome. Sundowning affects nearly 20% of people with Alzheimer’s and it’s something you should be aware of if you’re working as a caregiver or certified nursing assistant. Sundowning is a common behavior among memory care patients that occurs in early evening. It’s not a disease, but a set of symptoms that happen at the same time each day - usually around the time the sun goes down. This is caused by damage to the area of the brain that regulates a person’s internal clock. Some of these symptoms include confusion, anxiety, aggression, or agitation. Sundowning is triggered by reduced light and can be made worse in a patient with too much built up energy towards the end of the day.

As a Caregiver, there are a number of things you can do to help minimize or prevent symptoms of sundowning in your patient. Keep the home well lit in the evening. This is believed to help reduce agitation that may occur when a patient feels the space is dark or unfamiliar. Maintaining a constant schedule can help as well. Keep a routine of wake and sleep hours, meals, activities, and rest. This leads to a better sleep cycle for your patient and can reduce the disconnect felt around sundown. Try to reduce or avoid alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, and other stimulants. These can affect your patient’s ability to sleep and add to their restfulness late in the day. Try and plan more activities during the day. Regular exercise or movement can reduce the built up energy your patient has, which can exacerbate the symptoms associated with Sundowning. Finally, report your findings to a supervisor. If you believe a patient to be dealing Sundowner’s Syndrome, alert other staff to insure the patient’s needs are met around the clock.


That’s all for this lesson. If you’re looking for a Caregiver or CNA job near you, you can visit www.myCNAjobs.com. Or, if you’d prefer, you can call to speak directly with a recruiter at 773-270-3899.  That’s 773-270-3899 - we have CNA and caregiver jobs available across the nation so chances are there’s a job near you.

Sundowning, also known as Sundowner’s Syndrome, is something you should be aware of when working as a Caregiver or CNA - especially if you might find yourself working with memory loss patients. Sundowning affects nearly 20% of patients with Alzheimer’s, and can be an additional challenge you face on the job. In this video, we’ll go over what Sundowning is, what the symptoms of Sundowning are, what causes Sundowning, how to help minimize or prevent symptoms of Sundowning, and more.