RSS Feed Print
MCI Sundowning?
Posted: Monday, May 3, 2021 9:20 PM
Joined: 11/22/2019
Posts: 399

The past several late afternoons and evenings have found me with no patience to read, play my brain games, listen to the TV, or do anything.

I am a bit restless and the only activity that calms me is to lie with my eyes closed and listen to classical music.

I cannot focus on anything requiring cognitive work for more than a few minutes.

Is this a foreshadowing of sundowning?  

I observed this in my mother with dementia and currently with my FIL with dementia.

It is a change for me.

I will report it to my neuropsychiatrist and therapist, but wondered if anyone here experiences the same or similar sensations. 

Iris L.
Posted: Monday, May 3, 2021 11:20 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 18719

I don't call it sundowning but my brain definitely is in low gear after I have done several activities and it's tired.  I have to plan my day so that cognitive activities are done soon after I wake up.  

You might want to plan a siesta after lunch.  See how you function then. Also, you have a lot on yoyr plate, what with moving to a new, larger home and caring for your FIL in addition to your usual chores and activities.  Give yourself some breaks!   I don't know how old you are but I guess you're not a spring chicken.


Michael Ellenbogen
Posted: Tuesday, May 4, 2021 8:51 AM
Joined: 11/30/2011
Posts: 4500

The term sundowning is used by those who do not understand dementia. What happens is our brains need to focus all day long at 110 present to just function. That creates a lot of stress and we are drained by the end of the day. That is what happens to use and because of that we all handle it very differently/ I can tell you I am terrible at that time of the day and any little thing sets me off. I like to try to do things that I like to do early mooring or early afternoon. If I go out for dinner I do it at 4 PM so there is less noise and less people and find a quite area out of the way. There is way to get around it. It also helps to have bear or two which I just love and makes things so much better. And that is doctors’ orders.

Posted: Tuesday, May 4, 2021 10:32 AM
Joined: 11/22/2019
Posts: 399

LOL, Iris!

No, not a spring chicken, but not feeling super old yet at 58. Fifty nine this summer.

Michael, I wasn't aware that sundowning was an ignorant term.  It isn't a negative term to me, but used as descriptive.

I am not enjoying being restless, unable to focus and apathetic at the same time.

Update:  I will be at highest immunity to COVID-19 this Saturday.  I am researching doctors here in my new area.  That is exhausting, but necessary.

Also need some new glasses.

And to be retested for my extensive environmental and food allergies.

And I would like to get some help with FIL a couple times a week.

Oh, need an endocrinologist too...

And I would very much like to get my hair trimmed after cutting it myself for the past 15 months.


I will make afternoons off limits for research and other things requiring focus and attention.

Hope all are doing as well as possible.

Take great care all!

Posted: Saturday, May 8, 2021 7:14 PM
Joined: 9/2/2017
Posts: 12

Joining late to add but I experience all that you are saying in that I can't concentrate sleep or be happy longer than 10 minutes on and off. I don't care to socialize or go outside at all and have MCI due to ALZD but feel like I am further along than what is realized with the insomnia and mood changes. I take Quietipine and Citalopram which help minimally. I can't even concentrate for fun things like comedy or movies which is a change. I expected that for work that requires some thinking but this is ridiculous. I have a loving caregiver and great homelife fortunately and can no longer work so just staying busy around the house.
Posted: Monday, May 10, 2021 9:30 AM
Joined: 11/22/2019
Posts: 399

Welcome, laughing!

I feel with you about the inability to focus even on enjoyable things.

I took a short assessment recently and am assured my essential ability to function in a low-stress environment is adequate for the time being.

However, the changes are not comfortable.  My neuro specialist recommends I try to learn something new every day.  This is becoming harder.

I will continue.

Again, welcome!  I am glad you found this message board.  I hope to hear from you again soon.