loved ones with Alzheimer's safe in winter weather
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[January 21, 2020]
Winter can bring
about additional challenges for people living with Alzheimer’s and
their caregivers. Snow, extreme temperatures and early darkness are
just some of the season-related changes caregivers need to navigate
when caring for someone living with Alzheimer’s.
"Winter can be an especially hard time for caregivers
and people with dementia. It's harder to get around which can lead
to isolation, and cold weather and icy streets make wandering even
more dangerous," said Melissa Tucker, Director of Family Services
for the Alzheimer's Association Illinois Chapter. "Six out of ten
people with dementia will eventually wander, and in severe weather,
a wandering incident is even more frightening. Caregivers should
consider increasing supervision whenever wandering is a concern.
When traveling, make sure there is enough time to dress
appropriately, and plan to go slowly when walking to avoid falls. We
understand that increasing care or changing your routine can be
difficult, and this is something we are here to help people with.
Anyone who has questions about caring for a person with dementia or
needs support with this can call our 24/7 helpline at
The Alzheimer’s Association offers these winter safety tips for
those living with Alzheimer’s:
Be prepared. Check weather conditions regularly and have emergency
plans in place.
Bundle up. People living with Alzheimer’s can be at greater risk for
hyperthermia because they do not dress appropriately for conditions
or cannot communicate weather-related discomfort. Make sure your
loved one is dressed and prepared for winter weather conditions.
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Avoid slips and falls. People
living with Alzheimer’s may experience problems with vision,
perception and balance. Assume all surfaces are slick; assist the
person by taking smaller steps and slowing down, so they can match
gait and speed to a safer level.
Make daylight last longer. Shorter days during winter months can
also increase the risk of “sundowning.” Monitor closely for
agitation or restlessness as day transitions into night. Make
daylight last by turning on indoor lights earlier, opening curtains
or installing motion detector lights.
Prevent wandering. Wandering is a common challenge facing caregivers
and can be extremely dangerous in colder conditions. As the weather
becomes inclement it is important to keep your loved one with
dementia safe by taking extra precautions to prevent wandering.
Ask for help with snow/ice removal, grocery shopping or other
Senior Manager, Media Relations]