It is not easy, caring for someone with dementia in a heatwave. For many people, warmer weather can cause discomfort, dehydration and distress. Those with dementia may find it difficult to take the steps we all take to help us cope in the heat. Here is some advice about caring for someone with dementia in a heatwave, to help make things a little safer and more comfortable.
Tips for caring for someone with dementia in a heatwave
People with dementia might follow wear their usual clothes and forget to dress for the weather. Leave out (or encourage them to wear) light-coloured, loose-fitting clothes made from natural fibres along with a hat for outside. This can help keep people comfortable and prevent overheating.
Keep the house cool
Check that the central heating isn’t on. Get a fan and turn it on. Keep curtains or blinds closed during the day on the sunny side of the house. In the evening, open the windows to let the warm air out and colder air in.
Avoid the midday sun
Stay out of the sun between 11am and 3pm. When outside, seek out shade. Keep a bottle of sunscreen on you, and make sure it’s reapplied regularly.
Encourage to take a cool bath or shower to cool down. A cloth soaked in ice to dab or place on one’s forehead can really help.
Arrange extra visits
It is a great idea to organise extra care visits during hot weather. The carer or visitor can check that they have a drink and that everything is ok.
It is key when caring for someone with dementia in a heatwave, to avoid dehydration. Memory problems mean someone with dementia can easily forget to drink enough water. As we age, we sometimes don’t feel thirsty.
Ways to help prevent dehydration:
- Leave drink water within easy reach.
- Make drinking easier – make sure the glass or bottle is easy to see and use, perhaps provide a straw.
- Make drinking enjoyable – make it a social occasion, stay and chat.
- Provide reminders to have a drink.
- Give food with high water content.
For more information about water, drinks and your health, please visit the NHS choices website