Walking for sundowning syndrome

Research in brief: Walking for sundowning behaviours

Research in Brief

Effects of walking on sundown syndrome in community-dwelling people with Alzheimers disease

International Journal Older People Nursing. 2019 Dec 9

Sundown syndrome or sundowning is where people with Dementia can become increasingly agitated in the late afternoon and evening. This behaviour can be challenging both for the person with Dementia and their carer.

This research looked at whether walking in either the morning or afternoon could help to reduce sundowning.

Where was the research done: Taiwan

How was the research done: The researchers allocated 60 people with Dementia to either walk in the afternoon, walk in the morning, or to do no walking. Participants walk for approximately 120 minutes per week for 24 weeks. Assessments were then made at week 8, 16 and 24 to assess severity of sundowning behaviour.

What they found out: For participants who walked, the severity of sundowning behaviours was decreased. The people who walked in the afternoon tended to show improvement in sundowning behaviours a little a more quickly than the group that walked in the morning.

What it might mean for people with Dementia or their carers: If sundowning syndrome is occurring for you or your loved one, getting outside for a gentle walk may help to reduce the severity. Of course, there are also a multitude of additional benefits that a gentle walk can have on general health for both the person with Dementia and the care partner.

Things to keep in mind about the research: The research was conducted on a very small number of people and in Taiwan so the results should be taken with some caution.


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