Most of us look forward throughout the winter months to the warm, carefree days of summer and the enjoyable times that come with it – backyard picnics with family and friends, trips to the beach and long walks in the summer sun. However, if you are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or other form of dementia, the hot summer days can also create special safety challenges such as heat stress and other potential dangers.
Because individuals with dementia typically lose their sensory abilities, they may be unaware that they are dehydrated, overheated or getting a serious sunburn. Therefore, extra vigilance and caution is needed to keep your loved one safe.
Fortunately, there are a variety precautionary measures you can take to protect your loved one’s health and enable him/her to enjoy the summer fun, too!
Tips for Keeping Your Loved One Sun Safe and Healthy in the Summer
Apply plenty of sunscreen on your loved one – This is particularly important when they are outside for long periods of time.
Limit the amount of sun exposure he/she receives during the day – Place outdoor furniture in shaded areas and keep your loved one indoors between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. when the sun is strongest.
Be sure he/she drinks a sufficient amount of liquids – Provide him/her with plenty of cool water or their favorite non-alcoholic beverage and make sure he/she actually drinks it to prevent dehydration.
Dress your loved one in cool, comfortable clothing – Make sure he/she is dressed in lightweight clothes and feel your loved one’s skin periodically for temperature. A hat with a large brim is also a good choice.
Keep his/her living area cool – Use air conditioning or fans to help keep his/her living space comfortable.
Limit his/her exercise to the cooler times of the day – Exercise is important for your loved one, but it should be limited to cool times of the day and cool areas of the home.
Avoid caffeine, alcohol and high sugar drinks – Avoid any beverages that could cause him/her to become dehydrated.
Restrict access to swimming pools – Swimming pools and hot tubs represent a significant risk. If you have one, be sure to protect it with a fence and a gate with a lock. Also, cover the pool or hot tub when it is not being used.
Assure adequate rest – Sufficient rest is important and our loved one may need a nap or quiet time to help him/her deal with the heat.
Utilize safety resources – Take advantage of useful safety resources such as MedicAlert® + Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return® or Comfort Zone® to protect your loved one and reduce his/her risk of wandering.
These important heat and sun safety tips can help you ensure your loved one’s health and well-being and enable him/her to have an enjoyable summer with family and friends.
Help Is Available for Caregivers
Today, a variety of resources is available to assist caregivers who are caring for their loved ones at home. These include Alzheimer’s Association services, support groups, self-help guides, Respite Care services, in-home support, community-based services and educational programs. Progressive, residential Memory Care providers, such as North Woods Village at Edison Lakes, offer a variety of educational programs, support and special events designed to help family caregivers.
Guiding. Caring. Inspiring.
For caregivers who recognize that the needs of their loved one are beyond what they can safely and appropriately provide in the home environment, leading, residential Memory Care Assisted Living Communities (MCALs), such as North Woods Village at Edison Lakes and its “New Directions” SM program in Mishawaka, IN, provide the full continuum of services that have been shown to improve health and well-being, support brain health and delay the progression of memory loss from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
At North Woods Village at Edison Lakes, we believe senior adults thrive in an environment that offers an active, vibrant lifestyle with a variety of activities that engage the mind, body and spirit. Our “New Directions” SM provides a safe, professional environment and proven, best-practice programs and services specifically designed to address the total physical, emotional and social needs of individuals with Alzheimer’s, dementia or other serious form of memory impairment.
For more information and helpful resources on Summer Heat Safety for your loved one, contact us today!