For many people, summer is the most enjoyable time of the year. The nicer weather affords more opportunities to spend time outdoors. This is also an ideal season for vacations and family outings. However, summertime can also present challenges, especially for seniors. More particularly, dementia patients can be at risk for suffering health problems and encountering other hazards during this time. Fortunately, as a caregiver, there are things you can do to
minimize these risks.
Make Sure Your Loved One Is Hydrated
It’s easy for most people to tell when they are thirsty or dehydrated and need to drink water to avoid becoming ill. However, dementia patients can have difficulty recognizing the sensations of thirst. When you are with your family member this summer, make sure he or she has quick access to fluids. If you’re outside together, bring a water bottle or two. Avoid caffeinated beverages, as these can do more harm than good.
When summer temperatures rise, conditions such as heat stroke and heat exhaustion can be common. Sunburns are another frequent summertime problem. If your senior dementia patient lives in a care facility, ensure that there is reliable air conditioning. There should also be proper shade outdoors. When you visit your loved one and go outside, ensure that he or she is sitting in a shaded area. Help your family member apply sunscreen if you plan on being outside together.
Be on the Lookout for Mosquitoes
The summer season is prime time for mosquitoes to emerge. These pests love hot temperatures. Not only can these insects cause painful bites, but they can transmit diseases such as West Nile Virus. Dementia patients may not be able to effectively protect themselves against mosquitoes, so you can help them. Dressing in light, long clothing and wearing mosquito repellent are excellent defenses.
Pay Close Attention to Your Loved One
According to the National Institute on Aging: “Hotter days can cause difficulty in the body’s ability to regulate its temperature. This can be challenging for older adults who typically do not adjust as well as others to sudden temperature changes.”
When temperatures rise, it may be common sense for younger, healthy people to realize they need to take proper precautions. Moreover, a person without dementia can typically adjust to extreme temperatures. But if you have a family member with dementia, you should be vigilant in caring for them during this time of year. Be cautious about your family member wandering off or getting out of your sight while you are outside together.
Be Mindful of Large Gatherings
The summer months are popular for large events such as festivals, concerts, fairs, and outdoor marketplaces. These can be fun activities, but they can be troubling for dementia patients. Big crowds and loud noises can agitate those with dementia. Your family member might better enjoy these events from a distance.
You can enjoy the summer season with your loved one with dementia. As you follow these guidelines, you will be able to help promote a safe environment too.
If you would like to learn more about memory care from Grand Brook, please contact us today.