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Alzheimer's Summer Safety

May 31, 2017

Summer can be a fun time for people of every age but it can be dangerous for those who have Alzheimer's or any memory impairment. A loved one with memory impairment needs to be checked on frequently in the summer and try to limit the amount of time outside. A good idea is to make sure the lawn chairs are in the shade and that the family member stays indoors between the times of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m, also encourage them to wear a hat or sunglasses. It is also a good idea to reapply sunscreen every two to three hours to ensure their skin is protected from UV rays and if the loved one doesn't remember if they put sunscreen on go ahead and put some on just in case. Dehydration is very common for everyone in the summer so keeping a glass of water at arms reach is a good way to remind a loved one to have a drink, families can also try flavored water packets to give a sweet taste. A good rule of thumb is to ask a loved one every two to three hours, or when reapplying sunscreen if they would like a drink. Another hard task for those struggling with Alzheimer's is dressing appropriately, try putting their winter clothes up and replace them with shorts, skirts, dresses, large brimmed hats, a light jacket or a thin sweater.

Loud noises and big crowds can easily confuse a loved one with Alzheimer's so try watching parades and fireworks from home and picnicking early in the morning when there is less of a crowd. If your loved one enjoys going to baseball games use the buddy system to avoid confusion so they always have someone near and that person can watch over the one affected with Alzheimer's. Family reunions are typically hard on those with Alzheimer's so just watch for signs of discomfort and take it slow, a good idea is to use name tags for everyone which makes it easy on identifying family members. Families should never leave those affected with Alzheimer's unsupervised around large bodies of water, swimming, near fires or hot services such as grills, and do not leave children swimming under the supervision of someone affected by this disease either. Sharp gardening tools should be locked up this includes the lawn mower, a good rule of thumb is to have a box of gloves and small gardening tools that the loved one has access to at all times. For those who like to ride bicycles should be accompanied by a loved one and encouraged to wear a helmet and ride on trails designated for pedestrians and cyclist.

There are many things that can make the summer scary or dangerous for those who are affected by Alzheimer's and memory impairment. But with the right care and supervision, they can have a safe and fun summer just like they did as kids. 

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