Winter weather is especially dangerous to family members with Alzheimer’s. They may forget to wear the right protective clothing, slip and fall on icy steps, and leave space heaters on among other winter-related problems. If a loved one has Alzheimer’s or dementia, help prepare the person for frigid temperatures with winter-specific elderly care tips.
How to Prepare for Cold Weather When a Family Member Has Alzheimer’s
1. Schedule an HVAC System Inspection
Reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning in your loved one’s home by scheduling an HVAC inspection this fall. Carbon monoxide is odorless, colorless, and deadly if exposure levels are high enough. Install carbon monoxide detectors for further protection and familiarize yourself with poisoning symptoms, such as dull headaches, nausea and vomiting, blurred vision, weakness, and dizziness.
2. Ensure Your Loved One Is Always Dressed for Cold Weather
Prepare the family member for cold-weather outings since Alzheimer’s patients often do not dress appropriately for winter. Purchase a quality coat if the loved one doesn’t have one and keep mittens, scarves, and hats within reach, such as by the front door and in your car. Mittens are easier to get on and off than gloves.
3. Clear Walkways & Driveways Regularly
Shovel all walkways, steps, and driveways immediately after it snows to avoid icy hazards. Apply sand or rock salt when you are finished to ensure the ice stays melted. You may also want to purchase removable cleats for your loved one’s shoes for extra traction on snowy surfaces.
4. Avoid Using Space Heaters & Electric Blankets
Eliminate the risk of burns from electric blankets by removing them from the house, as your Alzheimer’s patient may not realize the fabric is too warm. Also, avoid space heater use to reduce the fire risk unless the appliance automatically shuts off when it hits a certain temperature or gets knocked over.
5. Use GPS Tracking Devices & Consider Additional Help
Equip the family member with a GPS tracking bracelet or device if they wander, which is extra dangerous in cold weather. If it becomes a serious issue, or you simply need extra elderly care help, research local assisted living facilities that specialize in Alzheimer’s and dementia care. Work with professional caregivers to create a customized plan for keeping your loved one safe and happy.
Discuss your family member’s needs with the compassionate team at Wellington Place at Biron if more intensive elderly care services are best. The assisted living facility has served residents throughout Wood County, WI, and the surrounding areas since 1995, offering safety-oriented, highly supervised memory care. Call (715) 423-5600 today to schedule a tour or visit the nonprofit organization online for more about elderly care services. Like the Facebook page for the latest senior living updates.