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Keeping a person with dementia safe during hot weather - Dementia UK

24th Jul 2018

With the UK currently experiencing a mini heatwave, people are flocking outside to get their dose of vitamin D. However hot temperatures can cause health problems for some people, including those with dementia who can be at increased risk of heat exhaustion and dehydration.

Due to communication difficulties a person with dementia may not be able to explain that they’re dehydrated or feeling unwell because of the heat. It could also be a problem for them to know when to turn on the air conditioning or they could forget to wear loose, cool clothing as well as hats and sunglasses.

Look out for the signs

In heatwaves like this, try and  provide extra checks on a person with dementia. Be aware of signs to look out for including: headaches, izziness, increased confusion, pale and sweaty skin as well as excessive thirst. Always seek medical advice if you have concerns.

It’s also important for a person with dementia to not spend too much time in the sun and to always use sunscreen when outside. The hottest part of the day is usually from 11am-3pm so you may want to encourage the person to stay inside during this time or at least get them settled in a well-shaded area.

Throughout the day, make sure that you and the person with dementia have a ready supply of fluids avoiding alcohol and caffeine which can increase dehydration. You can also consider foods which have a high water content. These can include chopped up fruits, vegetables and other fingers foods, such as cucumbers, mini icicles etc. which can act as great prompts for the person to eat and drink.

There is information and guidance to help you stay safe during spells of hot weather which can be found on the following websites

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/heatwave-how-to-cope-in-hot-weather/

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/hot-weather-health-warnings-2018