Caregiver Safety Tips: Keep Cool This Summer

For a person who has Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia, spending time outdoors can help benefit physical and mental health.  Summer’s arrival will bring longer, warmer, and sunnier days.  However, the rising temperatures can also bring additional safety concerns if you are a caregiver.   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.

Apply Sunscreen:

  • 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:

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.

AlzTex Admin

The Alzheimer's Association Houston & Southeast Texas Chapter (www.alz.org/texas) consists of families, caregivers, scientists, health professionals, and concerned citizens who are committed to finding a cure for Alzheimer's Disease and to easing the burden of Alzheimer's Disease and related disorders on patients and their families and loved ones.