While some extra safety precautions are necessary to enjoy the summer weather, don’t let that stop you from getting your loved one outside to enjoy the season. Below are some tips to help keep a loved one with Alzheimer’s safe this summer.
• Limit sun exposure. Place lawn chairs in shaded areas. Stay indoors between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. when the sun’s rays are the strongest. Encourage your loved one to wear a hat and sunglasses.
• Apply sunscreen regularly. An individual with Alzheimer’s may not remember to put on sunscreen, so be sure to remind your loved to apply and reapply sunscreen when outside for long periods of time.
• Stay hydrated. During the summer it is especially important to drink lots of fluids. Keep a cool glass of water within arm’s reach as a reminder. Add a flavor to the water to make is more interesting and tasty. Provide non-alcoholic beer or lemonade for backyard BBQs.
• Dress appropriately. Decision making may be increasingly difficult so dressing for hot days can be hard. Put away winter clothes, boots, gloves and hats, and replace them with just one or two choices of shirts, pants or shorts/skirts, a hat with a large brim and a light jacket or sweater.
• Avoid loud noises and crowds. Both loud noises and crowds can be overwhelming for someone with dementia. Consider watching fireworks from your home or in the quiet of the car; picnic on a weekday or early in the day on a weekend when crowds are lighter.
• Be watchful around fire and water. It’s best to have any home pools protected by a fence but keep a watchful eye on any seniors who may wander to prevent an accident. Do not allow an individual with Alzheimer’s disease to swim unsupervised. Also, never allow unsupervised access to fire pits, and the hot surfaces of BBQ grills or campfires.
• Plan Ahead. Consider simplifying travel plans or traveling to a familiar destination. Most airlines offer companion programs for those traveling with special needs. That way you can be assured a loved one has arrived safely or made a connection without any problems.
Alzheimer’s Association’s Tips to Prevent Wandering:
- Carry out daily activities: Having a routine can provide structure. Consider creating a daily plan.
- Night wandering: Restrict fluids two hours before bedtime and ensure the person has gone to the bathroom just before bed. Also, use night lights throughout the home or facility.
- Locks: Place out of sight. Install slide bolts at the top or bottom of doors.
- Doors and doorknobs: Camouflage doors by painting them the same colors as the walls. Cover them with removable curtains or screens. Cover knobs with cloth in the color of the door or use childproof knobs.
- Monitoring devices: Try devices that signal when a door or window is opened. Place a pressure-sensitive mat at the door or bedside to alert of movement.
- Secure trigger items: Some people will not go out without a coat, hat, pocketbook, keys, wallet, etc. Making these items unavailable can prevent wandering.
Safe Summer Activities for Loved Ones with Alzheimer’s or Dementia
- Go for a bike ride
- Go for a walk
- Plant flowers
- Have a picnic
- Go to the beach
- Have a yard sale
- Visit a local farmer’s market
- Go to an outdoor movie
- Create art outside
- Build a lemonade stand
- Make a bird feeder