Winter Weather and Dementia Care
When winter weather hits, loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia may be at increased risk. Both advanced age and memory problems are concerns, and special care must be taken to ensure winter weather safety. If you know someone who has a memory disorder, keep the following information in mind and take action to keep him or her safe this winter.
Staying Safe and Warm Indoors
Most of us adjust to winter weather by turning up the heat and piling on extra layers of clothing to stay warm. However, that response may not come naturally to someone who has dementia. A person who has memory loss may not remember how to operate the heating unit at home. He or she may also struggle to dress him or herself properly as a result of limited mobility or inability to determine appropriate clothing.
If your loved one lives independently, first make sure the heating unit is working properly. Then, set the heating system on an automatic timer. It may be wise to set the temperature a few degrees warmer than you would for a younger person. Slowing metabolism and decreased circulation are factors of aging that tend to decrease body temperature, so an extra degree or two can help seniors feel more comfortable. There are home monitoring systems available that can alert caregivers if the temperature drops below a certain temperature. These are helpful safety tools that let family know help is needed when a loved one with dementia may be unable to properly adjust temperature controls.
Clothing options that allow for layering are ideal for people with cognitive disorders. Light layers, such as cardigans, shawls, and light jackets that zip should be accessible so the person can add and discard items as needed. Choose clothing that is easy to put on and take off. It is also advisable to place throw blankets around his or her living space. Making these means of temperature control easily accessible allows for changing needs and increases probability of use.
Winter Weather Outdoor Safety
When heading outdoors, people who have Alzheimer’s or dementia may need help choosing appropriate clothing for the conditions. Older adults often have lower body temperatures, and people with cognitive disorders may not readily take steps to protect themselves. Take care to ensure your loved one has outerwear that is easy to put on and take off while providing adequate warmth. An attached hood is a good idea so he or she does not need to remember a separate hat. Tucking gloves in coat pockets and a scarf in a sleeve makes them available and easy to find when needed.
Fall prevention is another safety factor to consider. Winter weather can create slippery surfaces due to ice or snow. Your loved one should have sturdy, non-slip, rubber soled shoes to make walking easier. It is also a good idea to check the rubber tips on any walking aids such as canes or walkers. Replace them as needed.
Feel Safe and Welcome at Parc Provence
Our innovative and award-winning environment encourages residents to maximize quality of life and families to enjoy peace of mind.Your loved one is our first priority at Parc Provence.
Our residents enjoy the comfort and feeling of home, while families appreciate the security and care we provide. Assistance with activities of daily living including dressing, bathing, and meals are included, plus every resident benefits from a robust schedule of engaging activities and entertainment.
Contact Parc Provence today to schedule a tour.