Unlocking the Secrets to Late Summer Safety for People Living with Alzheimer’s: Are You Ready?

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Summer is winding down, and while there is still plenty of warmth and sunshine, it's crucial to prioritize the safety of those with dementia.  That’s because according to MedicAlert’s research late summer and early fall is the time of year most individuals living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias are most likley to wander.   

Here are five tips to keep your loved ones safe and comfortable throughout the summer.  

Beat the Heat: Stay Hydrated and Cool  

Staying hydrated and cool is crucial.Encourage regular hydration by carrying water bottles and scheduling regular breaks for restroom visits. Dressing in light, breathable clothing, and providing access to shaded or air-conditioned areas can also be a cooling strategy. By prioritizing hydration and appropriate attire, you can ensure the well-being of your loved one. Don't forget to ensure they are wearing their MedicAlert ID, at all times. If they do wander in the heat, they can be susceptible to heat stroke. 

Embracing the Great Outdoors: Safe and Meaningful Late Summer Adventures  

According to a study by researchers at Harvard Medical School, summer and its associated heat can be particularly challenging for those prone to wandering due to Alzheimer's. However, meaningful activities remain essential for enhancing the well-being of individuals with dementia. When planning outdoor activities, it is crucial to prioritize safety and opt for early morning or late afternoon outings to avoid the heat. Activities should be carefully chosen to match their physical abilities and preferences. Gentle walks in shaded areas, picnics in parks, or visits to outdoor gardens are excellent options to uplift their mood and reduce behavioral symptoms. 

Sun Shield for Wellness: Protecting Against the Sun  

Protection from the sun's rays is essential for wellness. According to Health Canada, when the UV Index is 3 or higher, it's important to shield your skin as much as possible. Encourage using broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF, wearing wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses that protect against both UVA and UVB rays to safeguard the skin and eyes from harmful UV radiation. Plan outdoor activities in shaded areas and ensure your family member wears lightweight, long-sleeved, light-colored clothing that covers their skin. Should your loved one suffer from heat stroke, having a MedicAlert personalized medical ID will provide first responders immediate access to their essential health information, offering an extra layer of safety during heat-related emergencies. 

 Harmonizing Happiness: The Transformative Power of Music  

Did you know that music can have a remarkable impact on cognitive well-being, particularly for older adults with cognitive impairment or mild to moderate dementia? According to a study by researchers at McMaster University, expertise, and music therapists can lead these therapies, helping to bring improvements to the well-being of an individual living with dementia 

 Safety on Speed Dial: MedicAlert's 24/7 hotline in case your loved one wanders 

Our latest research shows that 90% of people living with dementia who are registered with MedicAlert and have a history of wandering were found with no apparent injuries or compromised health. Having a MedicAlert subscription provides a critical layer of safety and peace of mind for those living with dementia and their caregivers.  MedicAlert’s Safe & Found blue ID is specially made to be recognized by first responders, medical professionals, and Good Samaritans. It helps to ensure that your loved one is returned during an emergency or wandering incident and receive timely and appropriate care. 

 As we get ready to embrace the fall and winter weather, keep in mind that this time of year wandering tendencies might increase. Wandering can pose risks, particularly during changing weather. By following these five tips, as a caregiver, you can effectively ensure the safety and well-being of your loved one.