Heat Waves: A Hazard for Alzheimer’s Patients!

heat waves

Heat waves can be dangerous for people who are vulnerable. For example, people with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, because most don’t realise they’re developing heat illness. However, their caregivers can keep them safe.

Director of Alzheimer’s Foundation America, Jennifer Reader said,

Triple-digit temperatures and heat indexes are especially dangerous for someone with a dementia-related illness such as Alzheimer’s disease because the effects of dementia can impair their ability to notice if they are developing heat stroke or dehydration,

She further added,

Taking a few simple steps will go a long way to help caregivers keep their loved one with dementia safe during the heat wave.

Moreover, AFA also suggests caregivers keep an eye on their loved ones because they are prone to wandering in the heat without knowing how to reach out for help when lost.

Furthermore, extreme wandering can lead to the development of a heat stroke within minutes. Hence, caregivers should find ways to do so safely. For example, creating walking paths at home, involving their loved ones in simple tasks like music, and games. When their basic needs are met, they will not wander outside.

People suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia are also unable to keep track of their water intake. Hence, it is pertinent for the caregivers to keep track of that as well, to avoid dehydration. Moreover, caffeinated drinks should also be avoided because they contribute to dehydration.

Warning Signs of Heat Stroke

Look out for the warning signs which include sweating, exhaustion, muscle cramps, headaches, rapid pulses, nausea, dizziness, and sudden changes in mental health. Other than that, the skin may become dry, hot, and red.

Caregivers can help them by applying cold compresses and by giving them cold water or fluids. However, if individuals faint or show severe signs of heat stroke, they should immediately be taken to the ER.

The AFA suggests taking them to air-conditioned facilities. Moreover, caregivers should plan ahead of blackouts. Lastly, if you live away from your loved ones, ask someone to check on them.


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