Hi Rachel, I am a care partner for a gentleman with moderate to severe Alzheimer's Dementia. I noticed that sometimes in the afternoons when we are out in public he becomes very agitated and refuses to allow me to remove him from the situation(i.e. in my car). I will have to call his wife to come get him. We are initiating a two person system in the afternoons however that might not always be possible. What should I do if redirecting doesn't work? I have been keeping him at home during that time


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Hi! Thanks for writing in! Well, this definitely sounds like sundowning behavior to me. My first recommendation is to do what you’re doing: avoid going out in the afternoon. Still go out, but stick to morning trips, before his behavior shifts.

I imagine that you’ll have to go out sometime, so this won’t always work. I also assume that his wife can’t always be there. Does it work to call her on the phone? Would it work to tell him that she’s waiting for him?

Your best option, really, is persistence. Keep trying different tactics to get him in the car. I had a resident once who took me 2 hours to get her back in the community. 2 hours. And, really, she was always very sweet…she just sundowned really hard!

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Rachael Wonderlin is an internationally-recognized dementia care expert and consultant. She has a Master’s in Gerontology and is the author of three published books with Johns Hopkins University Press. Rachael owns Dementia By Day, a dementia care consulting and education company.

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