Winter Safety

There may not be snow, but the winter season is indeed upon us. With the temperature finally dropping low enough into ranges for winter, those caring for someone with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia should all be on notice of extreme temperatures and early darkness.

General Safety Tips

Those with Alzheimer’s won’t necessarily dress appropriately for colder weather. It is important to cover as much exposed skin as possible and provide several layers of lightweight clothing.

  • A hat is important since so much body heat escapes from an uncovered head and don’t forget to add a scarf to cover up an exposed neck.
  •  Mittens keep hands warmer than gloves and may be easier to help get on and off.

We know that many of our loved with Alzheimer’s suffer with Sundowning. Sundowning is a term that refers to increased anxiety, confusion and even increased sleepiness due to the decreased sunlight in the winter months.

  • Turn lights on earlier, open curtains during daylight hours and add bulbs that simulate sunlight.
  • Install motion detector lights to help illuminate walkways around the home as darkness may fall before arriving home from an outing.
  • Dressing in light or bright colors or adding reflective material to clothing will help a loved one be more easily seen.

Assume ALL surfaces are slick and by taking smaller steps and slowing down, the person with Alzheimer’s can match gait and speed to a safer level.

  • Perception problems can make it difficult for the person with Alzheimer’s to see ice on the sidewalk or realize that ice is slippery or that snow is not a solid surface.
  • Keep sidewalks and driveways clear of ice and snow to make walking outside safe for everyone, but do not overuse ice melt products which can reduce traction.
  • Use indoor or garage parking whenever possible.
  • Especially on stairs or slick spots insist on handrail use and walk arm in arm when possible.

For more ways on how to prepare visit: Winter Safety

Talysa McCall

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.