As temperatures look set to plummet in some parts of Wales, people are being urged check in on loved ones, friends and neighbours living with dementia.
Alzheimer’s Society Cymru says the winter can be a particularly difficult time for someone living with dementia. Colder temperatures can sometimes exacerbate symptoms as people with dementia may not always be able to communicate the fact they are cold – or they may not even recognise it themselves.
The charity has provided some useful tips to help support somebody living with dementia in cold weather:
- Make sure the person is dressed appropriately. Layers are key to keeping warm, and the best materials for maintaining body heat are cotton, wool, or fleecy fibres.
- Keep the room warm. As well as turning the heating/ a heater on, things like draught-proofing, thermal curtains and roof insulation can help maintain a consistent temperature.
- Encourage regular movement. Keeping active can help to boost circulation and help keep someone with dementia warm. Simply getting the person to move their arms and legs or wiggling their toes can be helpful.
- Make the most of natural daylight. Decreased sunlight can cause someone with dementia to feel increased anxiety, confusion, and even depression during the winter.
- Stick to a routine. A big change in routine can cause someone with dementia to become confused or agitated.
- Be careful in icy weather. Perception issues can make it difficult for someone with dementia to see icy patches on a pavement or understand that a surface may be extra slippery.
- Eat and drink regularly. Keeping warm uses up a lot of energy, and a warm house can increase the risk of dehydration. It’s important to make sure someone with dementia is eating regular meals and drinking enough fluid during the winter.
Alzheimer’s Society Cymru is here for everyone affected by dementia. Call the Support Line on 0333 150 3456, or visit alzheimers.org.uk. If you speak Welsh call the Welsh-speaking Support Line on 03300 947 400.