Frequently Asked Questions

What is Sundowing or Sundown Syndrome?

According to The Mayo Clinic:

The term "sundowning" refers to a state of confusion occurring in the late afternoon and spanning into the night. Sundowning can cause a variety of behaviors, such as confusion, anxiety, aggression or ignoring directions. Sundowning can also lead to pacing or wandering.

Sundowning isn't a disease, but a group of symptoms that occur at a specific time of the day that may affect people with dementia, such as Alzheimer's disease. The exact cause of this behavior is unknown.


Factors that may aggravate late-day confusion include:

  • Fatigue

  • Low lighting

  • Increased shadows

  • Disruption of the body's "internal clock"

  • Difficulty separating reality from dreams

  • Presence of an infection such as urinary tract infection

Tips for reducing sundowning:

  • Try to maintain a predictable routine for bedtime, waking, meals and activities.

  • Plan for activities and exposure to light during the day to encourage nighttime sleepiness.

  • Limit daytime napping.

  • Limit caffeine and sugar to morning hours.

  • Keep a night light on to reduce agitation that occurs when surroundings are dark or unfamiliar.

  • In the evening, try to reduce background noise and stimulating activities, including TV viewing, which can sometimes be upsetting.

  • In a strange or unfamiliar setting, bring familiar items — such as photographs — to create a more relaxed, familiar setting.

  • Play familiar gentle music in the evening or relaxing sounds of nature, such as the sound of waves.

  • Talk with your loved one's doctor if you suspect that an underlying condition, such as a urinary tract infection or sleep apnea, might be worsening sundowning behavior, especially if sundowning develops quickly.

When is it time to move from Assisted Living?

We have found that when residents are having frequent falls, missed meals, missed medication or unusually long wait times when needing assistance with care that it is time to consider a move from Assisted Living. Facilities such as Heart to Home provide an alternative setting to large "apartment" style assisted living environments. Our unique residential senior care homes are designed as an alternative setting. We provide frequent supervision and pro-active nursing which prevents many medical situations from becoming major medical "incidents". Also, our high staff to resident care ratio ensures residents receive personalized 1:1 care through the end of life.

Where is Heart to Home located?

Heart to Home residential senior care and memory care homes are located in Mendota Heights, Minnesota. Our central location is convenient to many hospitals, the Minneapolis Airport and both downtown Minneapolis and downtown Saint Paul. Our homes are located in "regular" residential neighborhoods but are licensed by the Minnesota Department of Health as a Residential Assisted Living and Memory Care Facility.

How to I get on the wait list for Heart to Home?

The best way to get on the wait list at Heart to Home is to contact us. Josh, one of the owners, will provide you with a tour and detailed answers to all of your questions about Residential Senior Care Homes. After this initial meeting we will schedule a no cost registered nursing assessment to meet your loved one and place them on our waiting list.

Does Heart to Home accept Elderly Waiver?

Heart to Home accepts private pay and long term car insurance. In some cases we can also accept Elderly Waiver through Dakota County after an initial spend down period. In most cases we require a minimum of 2 years of private pay before being eligible for Elderly Waiver.

What types of care does Heart to Home not provide?

At Heart to Home Residential Senior Care Homes we are not licensed to provide: tube feeding, IV's or bariatric care (our equipment is not rated for people over 270 lbs). Furthermore we are not licensed to provide care for adults younger than 65 years old. If your loved one requires any of these types of care we can refer you to an appropriate provider.

What is the typical schedule or day like at Heart to Home?

Below is a sample of our daily activities and house schedule:

  • Breakfast
  • Morning Devotions
  • News and Coffee
  • Assigned Activity with Staff (examples: arts/crafts, music, hair, nail salon)
  • Exercise Class
  • Lunch
  • Afternoon Siesta / Nap / Quiet Time
  • Evening happy hour / snack
  • Exercise Class
  • Dinner
  • Assigned Activity with Staff 
  • Bedtime