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How to handle winter weather with Alzheimer’s Patients

(KTIV) – 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.

Alzheimer’s Association program specialist Amanda Brophy spoke with KTIV’s Matt Breen about what caregivers can do to help take care of their patients in these extreme conditions.

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.
  • 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 Enroll in the MedicAlert® + Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return® – a 24-hour nationwide emergency response service for individuals with Alzheimer’s or other dementias who wander or have a medical emergency.
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