How Sundowning Can Impact An Estate Plan

  • Elder Law
how sundowning can impact an estate plan | estate and probate legal group

It is common for a person with Alzheimer’s disease to experience increased confusion as the day progresses. Later-in-the-day confusion is often referred to as sundowning. Alzheimer’s is a mind-degenerative disease that can slowly take our friends or family from us. As elder law attorneys, we are often asked how sundowning can impact an estate plan. It’s important to ensure your loved one’s estate plan is in place to help care for sundowning.

What Causes Sundowning?

As the sun begins to go down, the person can become more confused, scared or combative. It is not fully known what causes sundowning, only that an Alzheimer’s patient’s attitude changes as the day progresses. But some items that may start sundowners are:

  • Exhaustion – it can be tiring to live with Alzheimer’s or Dementia, and the person gets exhausted as the day goes on
  • Poor lighting – which can also cause the person to tire easily
  • Overstimulation – while they may love the company, sometimes overstimulation can bring about sundowning later in the day
  • Sensory impairment – hearing or sight loss
  • Prescription drug side effects

There are many more reasons why a person may suffer from sundowners. The important thing to remember is that it is a recognized problem that you and your loved one must work through.

Some ways to help reduce the impact of sundowning are:

  • Keep a constant routine
  • Provide quiet time – but not over an hour
  • Keep adequate lighting in the home
  • Keep the person active or distracting during the time when the sun sets

But how does this affect an estate plan?

How Sundowning Can Impact An Estate Plan

It’s important to have an estate plan in place before Alzheimer’s or Dementia progresses too far.

3 main parts to an estate plan include:

  1. Healthcare Directive. Preparing for long-term care and health care is one aspect of an estate plan. It includes what the person wants to happen and how they can pay for it.
  2. Power of Attorney. This is when they name another person to make decisions. The designated person can take care of their financial or medical decisions.
  3. Will or Trust. Making arrangements for finances and property to be distributed after death.

An estate plan includes how to care for yourself as you get older and how to distribute your assets after your death. Having this ready before Alzheimer’s or Dementia becomes too prominent will help your loved ones care for you.

If a loved one has developed Alzheimer’s or Dementia, you may establish Adult Guardianship as another way to care for them. Working with an attorney specializing in estate planning and elder law will help you or your loved one.

Talk to An Oak Brook Estate Planning Attorney

If you have concerns about a loved one, a knowledgeable attorney can help you understand the legal process. To set up an initial meeting, contact the estate planning and elder law attorneys at Estate and Probate Legal Group today at 630-864-5835.  

AREAS WE SERVE: Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake and Will counties