How To Provide Dementia Care During The Winter
Earlier this year, we wrote an article about how to provide care to your loved one during the warm summer months and the specific needs they may have – in particular the need to stay hydrated and out of the sun. However, now that the weather has changed it’s important to remember that the needs of our friends and family who are coping with dementia have changed.
In order to help you keep up with these changes and ensure that your loved one can live well with dementia, the Lovett Care Group has put together this great knowledge hub article with some easy tips to make sure that your loved one is warm and has as much comfort, care and support as possible this winter.
Things to keep in mind for your loved one
A diagnosis of dementia, while serious, does not have to mean that your loved one needs to be kept inside all winter. With a bit of preparation, it’s not difficult at all to set your loved one up for a fantastic day out.
The very first thing you should do, when taking your loved one out this winter, is to make sure they’re fully covered in comfortable, warm clothes. Don’t forget gloves and hats, either; not only do you want to be wary of your loved one getting frostbite on their fingers, but it’s also important to make sure that your loved one’s head is covered, too.
At the same time, it’s also important that your loved one’s feet are also adequately protected. For this, we recommend boots with velcro straps or chelsea-style shoes. We recommend these kinds of shoes as they can be easily removed and slipped back on again — something particularly important if they’re wearing gloves or don’t have as much coordination as they once did.
When going out, you should encourage your loved one to slow down — especially when on footpaths or on roads — and take smaller steps. It’s easy to be caught unaware by unseen ice on the floor, even for someone who hasn’t been diagnosed with dementia. Because of this, it’s important that you keep a close watch on your loved one at all times to make sure they’re not hurt.
Things to keep in mind for yourself
But it’s not just your loved one that you should be looking out for.
Wear Bright Clothing and Make Sure Your Clothing Has Reflective Material (If Possible).
During this part of the year, it’s important to keep in mind that it gets a lot darker far earlier than it does in the summer. This means that even with street lights, visibility is almost totally diminished. As a result, it’s very easy for your loved one to become confused and become anxious, particularly if they had a pre-existing aversion to the dark.
In order to avert this anxiety and confusion, you should keep to wearing fairly bright colours and help your loved one to grow acclimated to your clothing. Make sure that they can see you whenever you go out, regardless of the temperature or level of visibility. For extra visibility in the dark, you should also be using reflective material (similar to the material found on high visibility jackets) to help your loved one find you.
Encourage Some Physical Activity Every Day
It’s very easy for people to stop exercising during the winter. The cold weather stops people from getting out or generally being socially or physically active. In order to combat that, it’s important for you to make sure that your loved one gets at least some (meaning at least an hour’s) physical activity every day.
Open Curtains During Daylight Hours
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a common illness that affects thousands of people every year. If you’re unfamiliar with it, it’s the phenomenon wherein depression is brought on by a change in season — normally on the shift from Autumn to Winter.
One easy way of warding against SAD is by making sure that your loved one gets as much sunlight as possible. An easy and cheap way of doing this is by making sure that the curtains in your loved one’s place of accommodation are open during daylight hours.
Install Lightbulbs That Simulate Sunlight
Alternatively, if your loved one lives in a place where it gets truly dark during the day and where their house doesn’t get a lot of sunlight, another valid option is to install lightbulbs designed to replicate the effects of sunlight.
Get In Touch With The Lovett Care Group Today
For more information about our range of therapies, Charlotte House Care Home, the Lovett Care Group, or any other enquiries, contact us today. Our dedicated staff will be happy to answer any of your questions.