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Sundowning: severe dementia and bringing on the night

Emma Chase VanCott 7elc at qlink.queensu.ca
Thu Mar 27 11:43:40 EST 2003

In sci.med.psychobiology John H. <johnh at faraway.xxx> wrote:
: Recently a friend of mine starting working in a dementia ward for severely
: demented individuals. She was advised by other staff that to be careful
: after sundown because many of the patients become violent and extremely
: difficult to control. I'm mystified by this, just wondering if anyone else
: has noticed this in severe dementia 

Sundowning is not some sort of "new" discovery.

Geriatric psych. literature is rife with references to this phenomenon.

There are various strategies. Keep the blinds closed, discourage 
daytime napping to prevent insomnia, etc.

Light therapy would be an idea. Keep in mind that it likely must mimic 
sunlight and therefore be full-spectrum, and of an adequate LUX (units of 

Perhaps it is an SCN (suprachiasmatic nucleus) deterioration thing. 


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