Tips from carers of people with dementia about coping with warmer weather
From the August/September 2016 issue of our magazine, Talking Point members share tips about helping someone with dementia who is struggling to cope with warmer summer weather.
'Last year l used to keep a two-litre bottle, either an old milk bottle or a pop bottle, three-quarters full of water in the freezer and pop it in front of a fan to cool my dad down on hot days. He was happy with this. Instant air conditioning.'
'My dad has had swollen legs and feet. He likes it when I spray peppermint foot spray on his legs and feet, as it helps to cool them down. He really feels the coldness of the peppermint though!'
'Ensure that the person remains hydrated, keep offering fluids especially plain water.'
'I keep sparkling water in the fridge. I find making up drinks for my husband using the fizzy water rather than tap water means they get drank quicker and keep him hydrated.'
'Keep the curtains closed and windows shut during the day in hot, south facing rooms. Once the heat of the day has passed, open both to let the warm air out and fresh cooler air in. If you think of the houses in Spain and elsewhere on the Med, with their wooden shutters closed all day, it makes sense.'
'Make sure the person is dressed appropriately. If they are dressing themselves, they may follow their usual routine and put on their usual clothes – vest, shirt or blouse, jumper – without making allowances for the hot weather. It's always as well to check that nightclothes have been taken off before day clothes are put on.
'My mum struggles to understand that the radiators are not on because the temperature outside meets the temperature on the thermostat, and thinks the boiler is not working. Any tips on that one would be welcome!'
'I make sure Dad has clothes made from natural fibres and that they are loose fitting (well, apart from the trouser waist). A hat or cap when outside to cover his bald patch and provide shade to his eyes.
'He's not safe in sandals though as he can trip, so I try to have him sit for a while with his feet up and no socks or shoes to give his feet a rest and some air.
'Light cardigans, as Dad will want to put something on when he feels "cold" even when to me it's sweltering.
'Lots of drinks, though he has to be told to "drink it down" or he will take one sip and think that's all he needs.
'Check the duvet tog value.
'Mostly it's supervising what we would all do in warm weather and jollying him along, as Dad no longer realises for himself what changes need to be made to compensate for the heat.
'Keeping windows open was a bit of a trial. Dad would want them closed in summer but go round opening them all in winter – never got to the bottom of that, so just had to be vigilant.'