Winter Weather Tips for Someone with Dementia
The cold season comes with health problems for everyone, but people with dementia suffer the most. Persons who have dementia will not always remember to keep warm and thus are most vulnerable to health problems. Some will forget to wear warm clothes while others struggle to stay warm throughout the cold weather. If your loved ones have dementia, you need to ensure their safety and provide the necessary care. Try to help them remain healthy and withstand the harsh climate conditions.
Check on the following tips to help prepare for the cold season with ease;
- Provide Adequate Food and Drinks
You will need to stock your house with plenty of drinks and foodstuff before the onset of winter to avoid moving out in the cold. If your loved ones stay alone in the house, it will be easy to take enough fluids and have a meal without getting out in the icy surroundings. Try to sensitize them to make hot drinks and meals to remain warm. If they are unable to prepare their food, get a house help to assist them in avoiding accidents. You should consider feeding them a well-balanced diet to keep them active and healthy.
- Provide Warm Clothing
Keeping warm can be challenging for a person with dementia as they may either forget to wear extra clothes or where you keep the clothes. Help them dress warmly, while in the house. Some may like to wear a particular coat which may not be warm, hide it and instead provide a warmer one. When you are not in the house, leave extra clothes in an easy-to-find place like on the chair, hanging at the door, or on the bed for them. Sometimes you need to take a walk outdoors, keep them safe. Older people will feel colder than the young; get them a woolen coat with a firm grip. You need to buy sturdy boots to protect their feet from the cold and slip on the snowy environment. With icy surroundings, equip them with a scarf, gloves, and a hat to keep off the cold.
- Keep the House Warm
When taking care of a person with dementia, you need to get your house warm before ushering in the winter. Try to connect your home with heating systems for consistent warm temperatures. During this cold season, heat loss to the cold surrounding is high; thus, you need to insulate your roof. Winter seasons are colder at night, try to provide an extra blanket to help in case the temperatures become extremely cold. Some may need to use electric blankets, but be careful to access those automatic ones which can go off after they sleep to avoid burning them. If it’s necessary to acquire an electric blanket, let there be a person in charge to prevent accidents. Sometimes try to throw a bottle with warm water in the sheet to maintain a friendly environment. To maintain a consistent warm surrounding in your home, install a monitoring system which will alert you when the temperatures fall.
- Provide protections
Although taking a walk with a person with dementia is fun and healthy, it can be risky. Try to protect them, whether indoors or outdoors. If persons with dementia stay alone in the house, try to set cameras in the house to keep track of their progress. It becomes easy to detect any accidental fall or a tragedy and help them. You should always have access to emergency contacts like fire extinguishers or the nearest police department for assistance. When they have to stroll in the compound, accompany them to avoid accidents. Provide a walking stick if the area is slippery to prevent slips, which can cause injury or death. Sometimes your loved one can go for a walk and then get lost. Let them wear a bracelet with a GPS device to help in locating them. Persons with dementia-like wandering, it’s better to protect them than to suffer a tragedy.
- Try Daily Exercise
Remaining in one state for long will make one feel cold, try moving and exercising to be warm. You should encourage them to move in the house or go for a walk to increase the blood circulation and metabolic reactions in the body, releasing heat. When you realize that they no longer love to participate, enroll them in adult programs and leave them to enjoy the daily activities. Jayne Byrne, Project Coordinator at a nursing home in Dublin comments that “Exercise will not only keep them warm but also improve their strength and balance, reducing falls.”