Winter – Suffolk Dementia Care
Winter is a time of colder weather, changes in routine and can be a time of isolation and a difficult for many dementia sufferers.
We believe that quality dementia care at this time of year is essential. People who suffer with dementia are often more affected and can become more confused during periods of change, which may mean that they need more attention. Dementia care planning is important and at My Care at Home we incorporate all of the following practices into our care management to provide for our customers:
Think about weather planning
Suffolk may not be famous for snow-drifts and white-outs but this means our transport systems are sometimes more affected than towns in Siberia when the snow and ice comes! So, we need to manage the risk of difficulties in getting to the shops by keeping a minimum of 3 days’ food in the house. Using even a small freezer compartment for a small loaf and a pint of milk is something to consider.
If solid fuel is used for heating, then regular checks on stock levels are essential. Click here to see parts of Suffolk’s weather forecast.
Only go out when dressed up for the cold
We now know that the number-one cause of illness and death in winter is down to very cold weather! My Care at Home discourages customers from going outside and asks whether there is someone else to go to the shops or if they can get things delivered. If they must go outside, we encourage them to dress warmly in layers with hats, gloves, scarves, windproof and waterproof jackets, and wear shoes that are waterproof and have a good grip. It is a good idea to make sure these items are kept somewhere so that they are difficult to “forget” to wear them when they go out.
We encourage family members to buy winter-weather clothes for their loved one.
Keep the home warm
Although we all worry about energy costs the home must be kept warm. Some people with dementia can get confused or anxious about heaters and central heating systems. Try to arrange for automatic timer systems that keep the living area in the home at around 18-21°C.
Take action against loneliness and isolation
For reasons that are often linked to sunlight and sunshine, loneliness and depression are more apparent in the winter months. For those suffering with dementia and living on their own, regular and routine visiting is an essential part of their wellbeing. Late afternoon visitors need to take the responsibility to pull the curtains and switch on a light for when it gets darker later. Try to start or bring an activity to get them involved with, doing it together if possible. If it is not possible for the family to sit down with a dementia sufferer, arrange with a care agency to stop by for a regular companionship call during the week.
If you are interested in speaking to My Care at Home on any dementia related issues we would love to help. My Care at Home are Suffolk dementia care specialists in care and we would love to be able to help you or any family members.