Spring is slowly arriving in the DMV, and with the change of seasons come some opportunities and risks for people with dementia. With the cognitive decline related to dementia, additional efforts and care need to be taken to ensure continued good health and to slow the progress of dementia. Here are some important considerations for people whose loved ones need support, protection, and encouragement due to dementia in the Springtime.
Enjoy Outdoor Activities
Physical and mental stimulation are critical to people suffering from diminished cognition, and Spring brings about opportunities to get outside for fresh air and stimulation. Cycling, walking a pet, and visiting with neighbors are all great activities that can keep a person with dementia in a familiar area while still getting exercise and stimulation. Alzheimers.net recommends activities that take advantage of the improved weather, like gardening, visiting the local farmer’s market, or cooking a meal with fresh vegetables with a person with dementia. The point is to take advantage of the milder weather to get outside.
Be Careful About Getting Lost
People with dementia can easily get disoriented, even close to home. It can be terrifying and dangerous for a person to get lost, and in the springtime, the call of the outdoors can lead to someone going out on their own and being unable to get home. Consider getting a Safe Return Bracelet, which is a critical component of a partnership between MedicAlert and the Alzheimer’s Association to make sure that the person with dementia can be quickly and safely located if they wander off. In addition, GPS and other technologies can be used to know the location of a person with dementia at all times. Another essential safety measure is a conversation with neighbors to let them know about the challenges facing the person with dementia so that if they are found wandering in the neighborhood, people know whom to call. Finally, ensure that family, friends, and caregivers accompany the person with dementia to be safe.
Start Habits That Last the Entire Year
Activity that stimulates the body or the brain can be hard to start during seasons when the weather doesn’t cooperate. If it is too hot or too cold, it will be harder to motivate the person with dementia to get out there are get active. Spring is an optimal time to start some critical habits like setting up an exercise schedule that can carry into the next season. In Spring, this can happen outdoors, but in a season when the weather is less cooperative, you can look for a local mall or another venue where that walk can take place.
Hydration is Critical
One of the biggest challenges for people with dementia is staying hydrated. Dehydration has been found to lead to mental confusion and brain decline, making it particularly dangerous for a person with dementia to forget to drink. With increased activity and time outdoors, a person with dementia will likely get dehydrated more quickly. Still, they don’t remember to drink and sometimes avoid drinking water because of a concern about incontinence. The people caring for the person with dementia need to ensure they get enough liquid throughout the day.
Spring is a wonderful season in Maryland and Washington, DC that brings back the pleasures of the outdoors, and possibilities for fun, engaging activities for people with dementia. The key to taking advantage of these opportunities is to do it safely. Taking some precautions can make the most of the season without increasing risk. Whether they are living alone or in the company of others, proper care and attention to their well-being is a must. At SmithLife Homecare, we can provide the professional, personal attention that a person with dementia needs to help them make the most of the season and live their best life. Contact us to learn more about how we can help in Maryland and Washington, DC.