Spring is coming and with it the switch to Daylight Saving’s Time. Although we are always excited to have warmer weather and more daylight at the end of the day, these changes can have a greater impact on folks who have a dementia related illness. Here are a few pointers/suggestions for lessening any negative effects.
– Avoid darkness in the day and bright lights in the evening: Computer screens and cell phones mimic sunlight and can throw off your loved one’s circadian rhythm or natural sleep patterns. Keep the blinds open in the day and close them at night to train the body into readjusting to normal day/night sleep patterns.
– Avoid caffeine at night: While a cup of coffee in the morning won’t hurt, experts say, letting a loved one drink caffeine at night time can cause anxiety, restlessness, and disruption of sleep patterns.
– Change the clock for your loved ones if they have not already done so: Adjusting the clocks at your loved one’s home and explaining the situation thoroughly to them can help avoid future confusion that could happen days, weeks, or even months into Daylight Saving Time.
– Keep a routine: Sticking to you and your loved one’s routine and assuring your loved one that while the clocks may have changed, nothing else has, is important to maintaining comfort and relaxation.
– “Keep calm and carry on”: While the changes can be confusing for a loved one with a Dementia related illness, remember that keeping yourself calm and level is the best way to keep them calm and level. These new changes can be tough for them, understand that fact and be supportive and listen to
Warmer weather and more daylight time can also bring an increase in wandering concerns and six in ten people with Dementia/Alzheimer’s disease are likely to wander. There are clues to look for that mean your loved one is likely to wander:
– Tries to go “home” even when he/she is already home
– Is restless, paces or makes repetitive movements
– Has difficulty locating familiar places like the bathroom, bedroom or dining room
– Feels lost in a new or changed environment
– Tries to go to work even though he/she no longer has a job
Changes to home environment that may help:
– Place slide bolts on exterior doors out of the line of sight (either up high or down low on the doors)
– Place warning bells above doors or pressure mats on the floor in front of the door to alert you
– Avoid leaving the person alone in a car
– Keep coats, keys and pocketbooks out of sight as they can trigger a person to want to go outside
– Enroll in a program to track and/or monitor whereabouts of your loved one.
– Alert neighbors, family and friends that h/she may wander and to let you know if they see the person walking outside alone.
These tips / suggestions are not meant to be all inclusive as each individual is different. Please follow up with your physician on your specific situation. Some information used in this publication came for the Alzheimer’s Association website www.alz.org and www.alliancehomecare.net If you’re looking for help/information on a particular topic, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and our caregiver support specialist will be in touch.
Project Independence is an adult day health services center with a planned program of activities designed to promote well-being through social and health related services in a safe, supportive, cheerful environment.