With temperatures soaring, the UK’s leading dementia charity has offered advice to help people living with the syndrome stay safe and hydrated during the hot spell.
The Alzheimer’s Society is providing support to the 92,510 people estimated to be living with dementia across the South West.
Dehydration is a common challenge for people living with dementia and memory problems mean they can easily forget to drink enough water.
During the hot weather, the charity suggests families and carers can help by leaving glasses or jugs of water within easy reach, sharing a drink with the person, leaving reminders to drink and providing high water content foods.
Marion Child, Alzheimer’s Society Head of Service for the South West, said: “Of course, people should enjoy the nice weather, but high temperatures can lead to severe health problems for people with dementia unless they take special precautions to keep cool and well-hydrated.
“People with dementia may forget to drink enough fluids and wear suitable clothing.
“As the temperatures rise this week, we are urging families and carers to check in on people with dementia to make sure they are staying hydrated, wearing light clothes and keeping out of direct sun.
“Popping round to check on a neighbour, friend or family member with dementia can help protect them and keep them safe during the hot weather.”
Jelly Drops ‘water sweets’ are an alternative way to help people with dementia stay hydrated and help boost daily water intake.
Jelly Drops are supported by Alzheimer’s Society and are bite-sized, sugar-free sweets containing 95 per cent water and added electrolytes.
The colourful sweets can be taken throughout the day to keep the person hydrated during the hot weather.
Lewis Hornby, inventor of Jelly Drops who was inspired by his grandmother, said: “Dehydration is a serious and often overlooked problem for people with dementia and the risk massively increases during the hot summer months.
“Like many, I was unaware of how severe dehydration can be and was determined to find an easy way to provide additional fluid intake, while replenishing essential electrolytes.
“I urge everyone to take a moment this summer to consider whether a friend or family member is at risk of dehydration and make a plan for how you can help prevent it.”
As well as the importance of keeping the person with dementia hydrated, Alzheimer’s Society provides other top tips to help people with dementia stay safe when the temperature soars, including:
- Making sure the person is dressed appropriately – Light-coloured, loose-fitting clothes made from natural fibres can help keep people comfortable and prevent overheating. A hat or cap for outside is also a good idea.
- Keeping the house as cool as possible – Keeping the curtains or blinds closed during the day – especially in sunny, south-facing rooms – can help to keep things cool. In the evening, open the windows to let the warm air out and colder air in.
- Avoiding the midday sun – People are advised to stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day between 11am and 3pm. If you’re out and about, seek out plenty of shade. Wear a hat and keep a bottle of high factor sunscreen on you, and make sure it’s reapplied regularly.
- Finding ways to cool off – Try putting a frozen bottle of water or ice pack next to a fan, for some DIY air-conditioning. Or place a washcloth and some iced water nearby.
- Asking friends and neighbours to pop in and check the person is okay – If you don’t live near the person or are worried about someone – ask a friend or neighbour to pop in and make sure they’re alright.
For more information on Jelly Drops, and supporting people with dementia, visit alzheimers.org.uk.