Starting to notice the colder days, darker evenings and the aroma of pumpkin and cinnamon wafting from your local coffee shop?
All sure signs winter is fast approaching.
While for most of us this doesn’t make too much difference to our everyday lives, for someone living with dementia, winter can unfortunately be a time of heightened stress and confusion.
Why dementia home care is crucial in winter
At Burley’s, our specialist dementia home care team understands the impact that the changing seasons can have on dementia patients. We therefore carry out regular, detailed reviews of our care plans to keep our clients with dementia as safe, healthy and happy as possible.
Read on to discover what our experienced dementia home care team takes into consideration when caring for those with this condition throughout winter.
Dementia home care sets a year-round routine to lessen stress
With late sunrises, early sunsets, and often bitingly cold weather, winter can disturb the day-to-day routines of us all.
While most of us are able to adapt without too much trouble, for those suffering with dementia, this break in routine can be extremely stressful and confusing.
Specialist dementia home care services establish a routine that gives comfort to your loved one and helps ensure their quality of life is as high as possible, even during the shortest days of winter.
Home care can alleviate confusion caused by dark evenings
Did you know the shorter days of winter can worsen ‘sundowning’, a condition that can make people with dementia angry and irritated once the sun has set?
That’s because dementia attacks a part of the brain that controls our circadian rhythm, making it more difficult for those with dementia to have a proper sleeping routine. In winter, the early sun set can cause further sleep disturbance and lead to worsened confusion, irritability and anxiety.
It’s therefore quite common for those caring for a loved one with dementia to find it more difficult during the winter months. Someone experienced in providing dementia care at home however, knows the signs of ‘sundowning’ and understands how to alleviate your loved one’s symptoms.
Ensure they stay warm with home care services
A common symptom of dementia is confusion over performing everyday tasks, including the process of getting dressed. In the summer, not remembering to put a coat on may not be a particular problem, but during the winter, it becomes a serious concern.
Part of the role of our dementia home carers may therefore include reminding our clients on what they need to wear that day to stay warm, and when needed, intervene to ensure they are dressed appropriately for the weather. We’ll also make sure the heating is set to appropriate levels and that there are blankets nearby to keep snug.
Trained dementia carers encourage safe exercise
It’s all too easy to retreat into our dressing gowns during the cold weather which may be great for catching up on our favourite TV shows, but being so inactive isn’t always the best way to maintain our physical and mental wellbeing.
The same is true for those with dementia.
Exercise and movement, no matter how gentle, will not only encourage good blood circulation and spread warmth throughout the body, but it will also stimulate the mind.
Our dementia carers know how to encourage movement safely, without leaving the comfort of a warm home if appropriate. We find walking from room to room and gentle armchair exercises are among the more popular ways to get moving with our clients.
When care is needed outside
Despite the cold weather, it’s important for those with dementia to get outside into the healing properties of nature during the winter.
However, it’s vital someone goes outside with them to ensure they remember to wrap up in warm clothing, stay safe on slippery paths and patches of invisible ice, and find their way home safely.
Staying social is also essential, so our dementia carers are more than happy to accompany our clients to visit friends, hit the shops or to social clubs. This ensures that they remain a part of the community, but do so safely.
Want to learn more about dementia care at home this winter?
Get in touch with our team to learn more about the services Burley’s Home Care offers, whether that’s a general discussion about your loved one’s needs, arranging a daily visit or live-in care, by calling your local team today:
If you prefer, send us a message online by completing and submitting our online contact form and a member of our team will get back to you shortly.
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