While the sunshine provides most of us an opportunity to get outside and connect to nature, for people living with dementia, hot weather can put them at risk of dehydration or heatstroke.
Here’s three ways you can support people with dementia in hot weather:
1. Stay Hydrated
Avoiding dehydration is a top priority for people living with dementia. For some people, the message may not be getting to the brain that they are thirsty. To prompt drinking, try leaving coloured cups or jugs of water that are easy to see, in the most used areas of the house. To make drinking even easier, consider using a straw.
Some people may not enjoy drinking due to sensory issues. Try ice-lollies, jelly or jelly drops. They are often bright and colourful, which can be more appealing, and the fruit flavour adds a pleasant taste.
If the person you’re supporting prefers to graze rather than eat big meals, you could add some hydrating foods to their diet.
- Cucumbers – 96% water
- Watermelon – 96% water
- Pineapple – 95% water
- Lettuce – 95% water
- Tomatoes – 95% water
- Blueberries – 95% water
2. Adapt Your Environment
Whether you’re inside or out, there are a few ways to keep your environment cool:
- Stay in the shade, and try to avoid being outside between 11am and 3pm.
- Think about purchasing a desk fan or one on a stand, and put it in the room you’re in during the day, and the bedroom at night.
- We often open windows for a breeze, but if your windows are south facing, keep them shut, and close your curtains or blind.
- Pop a hot water bottle in the freezer and use it to cool your bed at night.
3. Wear Appropriate Clothing
Where possible, keep clothing light-coloured, loose and minimal.
Natural fabrics such as cotton are often more comfortable when it’s hot.
If the person dresses themselves, check they’re not in lots of layers, or man-made fabrics. A person may pop a cardigan on out of habit.