Alzheimer’s Society warns of the effect of hot weather on people living with dementia
During hot weather, it is important to look after people with dementia and make sure they take special precautions to keep cool and well-hydrated.
With the heat health warning upgraded from yellow to amber and the hottest day of the year predicted as temperatures continue to soar, we're offering advice to help people living with dementia stay safe and hydrated.
Dehydration is a common challenge for people living with dementia and memory problems mean they can easily forget to drink enough water.
During the hot weather families and carers can help by; leaving glasses or jugs of water within easy reach, sharing a drink with the person, leaving reminders to drink and providing high water content foods.
Anna Smith, Head of Involvement at Alzheimer’s Society, said:
People should absolutely enjoy the nice weather we’re finally having, but it’s important to note that high temperatures can lead to severe health problems for people with dementia unless they take special precautions to keep cool and well-hydrated.
"People with dementia may forget to drink enough fluids and wear suitable clothing. As the temperatures rise this week, we are urging families and carers to check in on people with dementia to make sure they are staying hydrated, wearing light clothes and keeping out of direct sun.
“Popping round to check on a neighbour, friend or family member with dementia can help keep them safe during the hot weather.”
Help prevent dehydration with Jelly Drops
Jelly Drops ‘water sweets’ are an alternative way to help people with dementia stay hydrated and help boost daily water intake.
Jelly Drops are supported by Alzheimer’s Society and are bite-sized, sugar-free sweets containing 95 per cent water and added electrolytes. The colourful sweets can be taken throughout the day to keep the person hydrated during the hot weather.
Lewis Hornby, inventor of Jelly Drops who was inspired by his grandmother, said:
Dehydration is a serious and often overlooked problem for people with dementia and the risk massively increases during the hot summer months. Like many, I was unaware of how severe dehydration can be and was determined to find an easy way to provide additional fluid intake, while replenishing essential electrolytes.
Tips for staying cool in hot weather
As well as keeping the person with dementia hydrated, other steps can be taken to help them stay safe when the temperature soars, including:
- Making sure the person is dressed appropriately - 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.
- Keeping the house as cool as possible - Keeping the curtains or blinds closed during the day – especially in sunny, south-facing rooms – can help to keep things cool. In the evening, open the windows to let the warm air out and colder air in.
- Avoiding the midday sun – We’re advised to stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day between 11am and 3pm. If you’re out and about, seek out plenty of shade. Wear a hat and keep a bottle of high factor sunscreen on you, and make sure it’s reapplied regularly.
- Finding ways to cool off - Try putting a frozen bottle of water or ice pack next to a fan, for some DIY air-conditioning. Or place a washcloth and some iced water nearby.
- Asking 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.
How to support somebody living with dementia in hot weather
Dehydration is a common challenge for older people, especially those living with dementia. Take note of these ways to support people with dementia during periods of hot weather.