Summer Safety Tips for Alzheimer’s Sufferers
July 16, 2019
As we approach the dog days of summer, warm weather safety is a priority for all but especially those who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. Along with the pleasant summer weather are get-togethers, vacations, and simply, more time outdoors especially in areas like Asheville. This can be a fun time of the year but it can also become stressful for those caring for someone with Alzheimer’s. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind for the rest of the summer:
Make sure that no matter the skin type, adequate sunscreen is used. Remind your loved one to reapply when necessary and especially on long trips outside. Chances are they will not remember this very small task so be there to help them out. Another alternative is to bring clothing made of light material that will cover most of the exposed skin but still be cool and comfortable. At Pisgah Valley, we aim to host summer outdoor activities either early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid the hottest part of the day.
As we age, the desire for thirst begins to dissipate. It is very important to help someone with Alzheimer’s disease to drink plenty of fluids, mostly water. A great way to stay prepared while on the go during the summer is to fill up large water bottles and place in a cooler for transportation. Make one special water bottle with your loved one’s name on it and let them carry that bottle around. Simply holding the bottle will encourage them to drink water. You could even infuse fresh ingredients to the water for more flavor such as cucumber, mint, or citrus fruits. Try to avoid alcoholic beverages, soda, diet sodas, and juice made from concentrate.
Summer is a busy time of the year and having as many family members present at significant events is important. That means lots of people and sometimes crowds. For someone with Alzheimer’s, large crowds can be overwhelming. Try taking turns sticking with the family member who has Alzheimer’s at all times when in crowded situations – never leave them alone for any task big or small. If that person begins to express discomfort and wanting to leave then make sure another family member or buddy is there to accompany them to a quiet area.
Let’s be honest, warm weather sparks the need for water. Don’t deny anyone a dip in the pool or lake to cool off, but don’t let someone with Alzheimer’s swim alone. On the other end of the spectrum, do not leave someone with Alzheimer’s in charge of overseeing young children while swimming. These are both very dangerous situations. Even if someone grew up a fantastic swimmer, make sure to supervise their activity when in water no matter how deep.
Finally, if someone suffers from memory loss that doesn’t mean he or she cannot join in on all the fun. Pisgah Valley knows firsthand that anyone can have fun no matter what age! Summer is a great time of the year and it can bring back lots of precious memories. Give your loved one that opportunity to reminisce summer memories from back in the day. If your loved one is physically strong and enjoys certain sports then let them participate, but always be consistent about their safety by using some of these tips.