How to support a person living with dementia in hot weather
During periods of hot weather, older adults and individuals with Alzheimer’s or dementia are at increased risk of illness. If you care for an individual who is living with dementia, you may be wondering how best to support them during a heat wave.
What are the risks of hot weather to older people?
Individuals over 65 are more susceptible to heat stress (hyperthermia) for a number of reasons, the main being that they do not adjust as easily to sudden changes in temperature. This can be compounded by medical conditions or certain medications, too.
What is heat stress?
Heat stress (also known as hyperthermia) happens when a person’s body can’t keep them cool. Symptoms of heat stress can include confusion, dizziness, fatigue, fainting, headache, muscle cramps and fever.
Illnesses which come under the bracket of heat stress include heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Heat stroke happens when a person’s body temperature rises quickly and is unable to cool down. Heat exhaustion usually develops over a few days, where a person is repeatedly exposed to high temperatures which results in dehydration.
Tips for supporting a person with dementia in hot weather
It is so important to be vigilant in hot weather, especially when it comes to older adults. Here are some tips to help people with dementia stay safe and well in hot weather.
- Make sure they are dressed appropriately
- Help them to stay inside during the hottest part of the day (between 11am and 3pm)
- Check in with them regularly
- Encourage them to stay hydrated
- Keep the house cool with fans or take steps to keep the house cool
It is especially important that individuals with dementia and older adults stay hydrated. Difficulties remembering can often mean that someone with dementia will forget to drink enough water. Furthermore, the part of the brain that recognises dehydration may not always work properly. Therefore, it is crucial that older adults are encouraged and prompted to drink water and take in fluids whenever possible.
Symptoms of dehydration are similar to that of heat stress and include confusion, dry mouth, lips and eyes, headaches, dizziness, tiredness and strong-smelling urine.
Specialist Memory Care from Lovett Care
At Lovett Care we provide specialist memory care and dementia care for older adults across our care homes in Staffordshire and Cheshire. Our variety of care options include residential care, day care and respite care, all of which encompass a range of services and dementia friendly activities for individuals living with dementia and Alzheimers.
To find out more about any of our care homes and services we provide, contact our friendly team today.