Winter brings darker days – especially for people with dementia. But family and friends can light their way.
1 Make sure the person is dressed appropriately – people with dementia won’t always remember to dress appropriately for colder weather, so make sure they’re wearing the right clothes.
2 Keep the room warm – try to make sure any rooms that are occupied during the day are kept warm. Aim for 18-21 degrees Celsius. Keep a blanket in easy reach of a person with dementia, so they can grab it if feeling chilly.
3 Encourage regular movement – keeping active can help to boost circulation and help keep someone with dementia warm. Encourage the person to move around at least once an hour.
4 Make the most of natural daylight – sometimes a person with dementia will behave in ways that are difficult to understand in the late afternoon or early evening. This is known as ‘Sundowning’. At home, make sure curtains are open during the day to let in as much light as possible.
5 Stick to a routine – a big change in routine can cause someone with dementia to become confused or agitated. If you do have to make changes to someone’s routine in winter – for example, changing nap times or daily walks due to limited daylight – try to do them slowly and gradually.
6 Be careful in icy or snowy weather – perception issues can make it difficult for someone with dementia to see icy patches on a pavement or understand that snow makes a surface slippery. If you’re out for a walk in such conditions, support the person with dementia carefully.
7 Eat and drink regularly – keeping warm uses up a lot of energy, and a warm house can increase the risk of dehydration. Make sure someone with dementia is eating regular meals and drinking enough fluid.
For more information, visit the Alzheimer’s Society website. (Photo: Shutterstock)