Written by Active Minds on Friday the 16th of June 2017.
When the summer heat starts to rise, most of us try everything we can to keep as cool as possible, whether it’s large sunhats, plenty of ice lollies or handheld fans. But for people living with dementia, trying to keep cool and safe in the sun can be difficult, as they may struggle to remember what to do. Therefore, it’s important that loved ones or carers are aware of the dangers of excessive sun/heat exposure and can offer help to avoid dangerous situations during the summer months.
Take a look at our summer safety tips:
For people living with dementia it can be hard to remember to drink water, so when the hot weather hits it is a good idea to be prepared. Ensure that a person living with dementia has constant access to fresh water, whether this is a bottle they can keep at their side, or a jug and glass placed throughout their home, and be sure to prompt them to drink. Also encourage them to eat water-rich fruits like watermelon or cucumber, as this will also make sure they are getting plenty of hydration.
Limit Sun Exposure
Whilst a small amount of sun is good for everyone, providing us with essential vitamin D to help maintain healthy teeth and bones, prolonged sun exposure is harmful. For people living with dementia, they may not be as aware as they once were that they need to limit their sun exposure and try to avoid the parts of the day when the sun is at its strongest (10am – 4pm). This means that they may spend longer than they should in the midday heat, which runs the risk of causing sunburn and heat stroke. Ensure that people living with dementia avoid the midday sun as much as possible, spend plenty of time in the shade and are regularly applying high factor sun cream.
Strong sunlight can cause irritation to eyes which can confuse or agitate a person living with dementia. Ensure they wear proper UV ray protecting sunglasses whenever they are out in the sunlight.
For people living with dementia, choosing the correct clothes to wear for the temperature can be a challenge, so ensure that they are wearing cool, light clothes during the summer season. You may want to think about sorting and labelling their wardrobes or cupboards so it is clear which drawers have ‘Sunny Clothes’ and which have ‘Cold Clothes’.