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Posted on: 15.12.2021

Twyford Dementia Care Over Winter

During the winter, we notice a rise in depression across our residents and even more so in our residents who are living with dementia.

Why Is Winter Worse?

Throughout the winter there are a number of elements that can trigger depression in our residents. From darker evenings, the cold weather and even not being able to get out and about in our gardens without having to wrap up in several layers. So is this why winter is worse?
Increase the effects of Sundowning – Sundowning is the increasing agitation, aggression and anger when the sun starts to go down. Obviously, with early dark nights, this means that residents experience this much earlier. Read more on “What is sundowning?
SAD (seasonal affective disorder) – This is a type of depression that is brought on seasonally, particularly in the winter due to the darker nights and colder weather.
Sleep disturbance – dementia can alter the internal body clock, which means that those living with it will continue to consider darkness falling time for bed. This means that without proper care and intervention, they will be going to bed at 5 pm, and waking through the night once rested.
Visual disturbance – vision can already be affected by dementia, when darker nights, dimly lit rooms and increased shadows are thrown into the mix this visual disturbance increases. Which in turn increases the levels of irritation and aggression.

What We Can Do To Help

There are a number of things both the family, and our homes can do to help the experience of dark nights.
Make the most of natural daylight – This means getting outside where possible in natural light. Even if this is just a short stroll into the gardens (wrapped up warm of course). We may also suggest a vitamin D supplement, which helps boost the mood, as natural sunlight would.
Calming spaces – Whether this is their own room in the care home, or just a space that we keep quiet from the hustle and bustle of main areas where the individual can sit to get some peace. We also try to keep evening activities as calming as possible.
Let in the light – While this means letting as much natural light in during the day as possible, it also means ensuring that the home is well light as that natural light fades. This will help to reduce the shadows we mentioned earlier.

Dementia Care, Twyford House

Here at Twyford House, we specialise in Dementia Care. This means each and every team member has undergone dedicated dementia training to help ensure that they are prepared to deal with any Dementia-related concerns. This includes keeping an eye out for depression and sundowning before they take hold.
If you have any questions, please get in touch with the Twyford House Care Home team today, who will be happy to assist you.

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