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Summer is well upon us, and as temperatures rise in Southern California, it is essential to know how to keep your loved one safe in the heat. People with dementia can have a more challenging time adjusting to warmer temperatures and are at higher risk for dehydration and heat exhaustion. However, summer does not mean that you can’t enjoy plenty of outdoor activities! Some extra preparation can help keep your loved one stay comfortable during the day. It’s important to have a fun summer that you both can enjoy. Here are some tips to help you do that:
- Avoid the Hottest Part of the Day
- The hottest part of the day can be between 10 AM and 4 PM, depending on where you live. Planning outings and appointments in the morning and evenings can help you avoid being outside during high temperatures at midday.
- Drink Plenty of Water
- It can be easy to forget about drinking enough water during the summer, but staying hydrated is very important for dementia patients. Try keeping liquids within eyesight and easily accessible.
- Eat Cool Foods
- If it is difficult for your loved one to drink enough water, try incorporating foods that are high in water content. Good choices include watermelon, cucumbers, smoothies, and popsicles. Try to include at least one of these every day to help your loved one consume enough water.
- Dress Accordingly
- With a bit of preparation, you and your loved one can make the most of your time outdoors. Help make sure your loved one has dressed accordingly in lightweight, loose-fitting clothes to stay cool. And don’t forget the sunscreen (and reapply regularly)!
- Find Cool Outdoor Activities
- There are plenty of outdoor activities to do during the summer to enjoy the sunshine and be safe. Finding a community pool, a shaded park, or a community garden means you can still enjoy the summer while being safe.
It is also essential to know the warning signs of dehydration since it can be difficult for people with dementia to communicate if they’re thirsty. Some symptoms to watch for include increased confusion or change in usual behavior, dry mouth, headaches, weakness, fatigue, and dizziness.
With a bit of preparation, you and your loved one can make the most of your time this summer. Remember to keep them hydrated, cool, and safe!
Photo by Raphael Biscaldi on Unsplash