As temperatures continue to reach minus figures this week, people are being urged check in on loved ones, friends and neighbours living with dementia.
For people living with dementia across the South West of England, Alzheimer’s Society says the cold spell coupled with the cost of living crisis, may bring added anxiety and challenges.
Forecasts from the Met Office say air from the Arctic is to spread South across the country bringing very cold nights, widespread frost and potentially severe frost, with daytime temperatures persisting near or just above freezing.
Judith King, Alzheimer’s Society’s Head of Service for Central England, said: “Winter can be a particularly difficult time for someone living with dementia. Colder temperatures can sometimes exacerbate symptoms as they may not always be able to communicate the fact they are cold – or they may not even recognise it themselves.”
Alzheimer’s Society 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 or snowy weather. Perception issues can make it difficult for someone with dementia to see icy patches on a pavement or understand that snow can make a surface 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.
For more information and advice, call Alzheimer’s Society’s support line on 0333 150 3456 or visit alzheimers.org.uk