For a person who has AlzheimerΓÇÖs disease or related dementia, spending time outdoors can help benefit physical and mental health.┬á SummerΓÇÖs arrival will bring longer, warmer, and sunnier days.┬á However, the rising temperatures can also bring additional safety concerns if you are a caregiver.┬á┬á Before you heat up the BBQ this summer, please take a moment to read these safety tips for an enjoyable and fun time outdoors:
Limit exposure to the sun:
- Try to avoid spending time outside between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., when the sunΓÇÖs rays are strongest.
- Put outdoor seating in shaded areas.
- Encourage the person to wear a hat and sunglasses to protect their eyes from the sun.┬á Make sure sunglasses are taken off once inside to prevent accident.┬á It is a good idea to pause for a few minutes once inside to help eyes adjust from bright sunlight.
- Check that any wheelchairs, walkers, or other metal equipment does not become hot to the touch.
- Sunscreen should always be worn, even if the person is only outside for a short time.
- Reapply sunscreen when outside for a long period of time.
- Try spray-on sunscreen to make application quicker and easier.
Make sure clothing is appropriate for the season:
- Choose loose, lightweight, and light-colored clothing, preferably made from natural materials like cotton or linin.┬á Try to avoid synthetic fabrics.
- Think about reorganizing the personΓÇÖs closet to help them make appropriate clothing choices.┬á Put away heavy, winter clothes, and replace with light clothing options.
Give plenty of water:
- Do not wait until someone tells you they are thirsty before giving them plenty of water.
- Encourage them to drink more water than usual.┬á Offer a small glass of water hourly, or keep a cool glass of water within armΓÇÖs reach as a reminder to drink plenty of fluids.
- Stay away from alcoholic beverages.┬á Offer alternatives such as nonalcoholic beer or lemonade at an outdoor get-together.
Know the warning signs of a heat-related illness:
- Visit the CDCΓÇÖs website to learn the warning signs of a heat-related illness, and how to act in a heat-related emergency.┬á Click : http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/elderlyheat.asp
Enroll the person in MedicAlert┬« + Alzheimer’s Association┬áSafe Return┬«:
- Six out of 10 people with AlzheimerΓÇÖs disease will wander, and hot temperatures can put the person at a greater risk should they wander and become lost.
- Enroll in the MedicAlert┬« + Alzheimer’s Association┬áSafe Return┬« program by calling 888.572.8566 or by visiting the website, medicalert.org/safereturn.