How to support somebody living with dementia in hot weather

Dehydration is a common challenge for older people, especially those with dementia. Take note of these ways to support them when the temperatures soar.

For many of us, a heatwave marks the arrival of barbecues, beer gardens and picnics in the park. But for people with dementia, the warmer weather can cause discomfort, dehydration and distress.

If you have a loved one living with dementia, take note of these ways to support them when the temperatures soar.

support-person-dementia-hot-weather

Dehydration and dementia

Dehydration is a common challenge for older people, and especially those with dementia. Memory problems mean someone with dementia can easily forget to drink enough water.

What’s more, the part of the brain that recognises you’re dehydrated and sends a message to let you know you’re thirsty doesn’t always work properly. Some medications and dementia-related illnesses can also make dehydration worse.

5 tips for preventing dehydration

Our helpline advisers are here for you.

Here are some simple but effective ways of helping to prevent dehydration during hot weather:

  1. Leave glasses or jugs of water within easy reach. This is especially important for people with limited mobility, who aren’t able to get up and make themselves a drink.
  2. Make drinking easier. Have a clear glass so the person can see what’s inside (this may not work so well with water) or a brightly coloured cup to draw attention. Make sure the glass is within the line of sight. Having a glass that is suitable (not too heavy or an odd shape) can help. Straws might also be a good idea.
  3. Make drinking a social occasion. Have a cup of tea or an ice lolly with the person and make sure they're drinking during mealtimes.
  4. Leave reminders. Make sure someone with dementia remembers to drink regularly by leaving notes out for them or putting up notices around the house. You could also set up a phone reminder or set an alarm clock.
  5. Provide high water content foods. Supplement water and other drinks with foods that are high in fluids. Some good options include jelly, ice cream, soup and fruit such as melon.

How to recognise the symptoms of dehydration

There are some things that may show a person is dehydrated. If you spot any of the following, encourage the person to drink water immediately and seek medical help if you need. If the condition worsens or doesn’t improve, go straight to the hospital.

  • Increased confusion (compared to typical dementia symptoms)
  • Dark and strong-smelling urine
  • Dry mouth, lips and eyes
  • Headaches or dizziness
  • Feeling tired
  • Not peeing very often (fewer than 4 times a day)

5 more tips to help people with dementia stay comfortable in hot weather

1. Make sure the person is dressed appropriately

If someone with dementia is dressing themselves, they might follow their usual routine and forget to dress for the weather. Light-coloured, loose-fitting clothes made from natural fibres can help keep people comfortable and prevent overheating. A hat or cap for outside is also a good idea.

2. Keep the house as cool as possible

Check that the central heating isn’t on, and invest in some fans if necessary. Keeping the curtains or blinds closed during the day – especially in sunny, south-facing rooms – can also help to keep things cool. In the evening, open the windows to let the warm air out and colder air in.

3. Avoid the midday sun

We’re all advised to stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day (between 11am and 3pm), and this is even more important for elderly people with dementia. When you’re out and about, seek out plenty of shade. Keep a bottle of sunscreen on you, and make sure it’s reapplied regularly.

4. Find ways to cool off

If someone with dementia is hot and agitated, help them take a cool bath or shower. You could also place a wash cloth and some iced water nearby, so they can dab themselves when they need to. Try putting a frozen bottle of water or ice pack next to a fan, for some DIY air-conditioning.

5. Ask friends and neighbours to pop in and check the person is ok

If you don’t live near the person or are worried about someone – ask a friend or neighbour to pop in and make sure they're ok. They could stay and have a drink with the person and make sure they have everything they need.

Eating and drinking

Read our guide to eating and drinking for more advice on staying healthy and hydrated.

Read the guide
Categories

14 comments

Add your own

WHEN ARE WE GOING TO HAVE A CURE FOR DEMENTIA
ALL THEY DO IS ASK FOR MONEY!

NEVER A TIME SCHEDULE FOR A SOLUTION FOR DEMENTIA.

I’m not sure it’s that easy. My understanding is that dementia is a gradual deterioration of the brain cells, whereas Alzheimer’s is a disease. They are making progress, for example the link between Alzheimer’s and diabetes, but it’s slow progress.

Dementia is caused when the brain is damaged by diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease . Dementia is non specific, it is an overall term. There are over 200 subtypes of dementia.

HELLO THERE WILL NEVER BE A CURE FOR DEMENTIA BECAUSE THE BRAIN IS SO COMPLICATED THAT SCIENCE AND MEDICAL SPECIALISTS DO NOT FULLY UNDERSTAND HOW IT WORKS. MY MOTHERS VASCULAR DEMENTIA STATED IN 2013 AND IT HAS TURNED HER INTO A STRANGER. SHE IS NOT THE MOTHER I KNEW.HAVING TO WATCH HER SUFFER IN THIS LOCKED IN WORLD IS PAINFUL FOR ME TO ENDURE. SHE TRIES SO HARD TO TALK TO ME LIKE SHE USED TO BUT SHE IS UNABLE TO.I NEED TO FIND THE KEY TO UNLOCK THE DOOR TO FREE HER FROM THIS LOCKED IN WORLD BUT I KNOW I WILL NEVER FIND IT BECAUSE SUCH A KEY DOES NOT EXIST. IT AMAZES ME THAT WITH ALL THE SCIENTIFIC ADVANCEMENTS THAT HAVE BEEN MADE TODAY, A CURE FOR DEMENTIA HAS STILL NOT BEEN FOUND YET THEY CAN PUT A MAN ON THE MOON AND SEND A ROCKET TO MARS. WHAT HOPE IS THEIR FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS?IT IS TOO LATE FOR MY MUM NOW TOO BE CURED FROM THIS SCOURGE THAT IS CALLED DEMENTIA AND CAUSES SO MUCH SUFFERING IN THE WORLD

Never say never,Colin. I live with my 'locked in' vascular dementia husband so can appreciate your despair. However, I believe that in time, some aspects of dementia will be controlled, if not cured. Forty seven years ago my twelve year old daughter died from an incurable cancer which, had it occurred today, her prospects would have been much more promising. So things do change....not for sufferers today but maybe within the foreseeable future.

Strangely enough, it isn't a case of ÂŁx million = cure! Oh that it was that simple!! Just think back to see the progress made with the fight against cancer, but it has taken time. It will happen eventually - but there isn't a cost/result ratio.

I agree with your advise on keeping a person with dementia hydrated during hot weather. The problem I have at any time is to get my partner to drink and eat at all, sometimes she will go nearly all day without a proper drink just a few sips here and there and then gets so upset when I remind her that she hasn't finished the drinks that I make for her.

trouble drinking they pee more all over how do i get rid of smell of pee,also wont shower.

Hello there and thank you for getting in touch.

You may find these tips on reducing and dealing with accidents useful: alzheimers.org.uk/get-support/daily-living/toilet-accidents-support-advice

In addition, we have further advice on washing and bathing that may be of use if someone you are caring for is reluctant to wash: alzheimers.org.uk/get-support/daily-living/when-someone-dementia-reluctant-wash

If you’re looking for further support for someone living with dementia, please do contact your local authority for both a needs assessment and a carer’s assessment to ensure you’re getting all the help you’re entitled to.

Lastly, please call our Helpline if you would like further information, support or advice about dementia – our advisers are here for you on 0300 222 11 22.

My father got it, and I want to help him and the people who suffers it. Is so hard for me. I just have my self to support you in your activities or task. Some times I feel lonely in this situation .
Thank you for read me

Hi Adriana

We are sorry to hear about your father and can see how difficult it is for you caring for him on your own.

There may be local Alzheimer’s Society services nearby that can offer face-to-face help, advice and support. It may provide a chance to meet other families caring for someone. Details can be found at:
https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/about-us/contact-us/alzheimers-society-re…

Alternatively, our online community may be able to provide you with some support - find out more about Talking Point and share experiences with other people also affected by dementia: https://alzheimers.org.uk/get-support/talking-point-our-online-communit…

We would suggest that you call our helpline so we can offer you some further ideas on help and support that you may be entitled to. The National Dementia Helpline is open Monday to Wednesday from 9am to 8pm, Thursday and Friday from 9am to 5pm; Saturday to Sunday from 10am to 4pm. Please call 0300 222 1122.

We hope this is helpful, Adriana.

My husband has Parkinson's and dementia. He is getting steady worse over the last 6month, some days it's a battle of wills , and he can say some hurtful thìngs .he crys and ask where mam is, my mother died 5years ago ..he keeps going on about when are we moving , and has many hallucinations.,of which he talks away to them. And gets nasty because I cannot understand him most of the time.he also sleeps a lot.. l have too cut up his food and sometimes feed him..but he is still my husband , and he can have a few realistic moment's. Especially when he sees family..where this is going I have no idea , just live day to day ...

My mother has dementia and I have found that giving her C b d caps every day has helped her no end I have also changed her diet slightly so she has plenty of fruit and veg, no cheese or white bread and included walnuts into her diet as well as organic extra virgin olive oil.
Hope this may be of some help to someone else.

I just saw on Facebook that there is a new jelly pop that is being tested in England that would help in dehydration. They are colorful, room temperature and sound very useful.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.