In many parts of the country, winters chill is forcefully gripping the air. The next few months will urge the majority of us inside to keep warm and avoid the discomforts of colder weather. For seniors,the prospect of facing a snowy, icy, or otherwise freezing climatecan be a daunting one. But these conditions are even more hazardous for those living with dementia, as the bite of winter often presents a number of heightened risks to their physical and mental health.
As we brace for the thick of winter, the following are some important insights about the realities facing seniors living with dementia, as well as helpful information on how to maximize physical and mental well-being during this difficult time of year.
Before we discuss the best ways to supportseniors living with dementiaduring the coldest season, its necessary to have a solid understanding of the actual threats facing this population. Its certainly true that winter can be a dangerous and difficult time for any senior, but dementia adds another layer of risk and vulnerability to the equation.
Consider some of the following ways seniors with dementia are at a significant disadvantage when it comes to staying safe and healthy throughout winter:
Given the many risks posed to seniors living with dementia this time of year, its important to take preventive measures that help ensure the safety of your loved one. Here are some vital tips for making the wintry months less hazardous for seniors in this situation.
Ensure they are, including a heavy coat and outdoor accessories like a hat, scarf, and gloves.to ensure their skin is not cold to the touch, and to ensure it doesnt drop below 95 degrees. If it does, seek immediate medical attention.
For optimal ground traction, make sure they are . Assist them with walking outdoors (or ensure someone else is there to do so), and. Position on hardwood floors inside, and encourage them to transition to another set of stable shoes upon reentering the home.
Do whats necessary to of family members, friends, and neighbors so that too much isolation doesnt snowball into serious depression and anxiety. When face-to-face contact isnt possible, digital communication can help bridge the gap. Butin-person contact and ongoing social engagement is one of the best ways to mitigate the risk of declining mental health. Also consider the benefits of, as well as.
To help address the dangers of getting lost outdoors in the cold, it may be necessary to ensure your loved one is , to equip them with an easy form of(mobile phone, alert system, etc.), and even outfit them withso they are more easily seen. If this issue becomes a more serious concern, it may be time to consider an elevated component of care.
There could come a time when ensuring the safety of your loved one living with dementia is too great a challenge to maintain their existing environment. The hazards of winter can be a defining element in realizing the severity of a seniors progression with dementia. Often, these individuals have specialized needs that cant necessarily be met when living at home, even if they have the benefit of a loved ones time and care.
So as you navigate these difficulties at such a wearisome time of year for so many, consider whethera memory care community might be a better alternativefor your loved one. These communities are specifically designed to cater to the unique needs of seniors battling dementia and can be an ideal opportunity for supporting your loved one with the extra level of care they require.
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