AUSTIN (KXAN) — Winter weather can bring increased challenges for the over 400,000 people living with Alzheimer’s Disease or other dementias in Texas and those who care for them.
“It’s just important to keep tabs on those who you love that have Alzheimer’s, (or other) dementias, especially during this time when it’s so cold outside (and) dangerous,” said Andrea Taurins, the executive director of the Capital of Texas chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.
Taurins said that there are a few things caregivers should keep in mind while looking after their loved ones in colder temperatures.
One thing is ensuring those people who have dementia are adequately dressed when the temperature drops. Some may choose inappropriate outfits that don’t keep them warm, so checking what your loved one is wearing or choosing an outfit for them is recommended, Taurins explained.
Around three out of five people with Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia will wander away from home. With Alzheimer’s, a person may leave the house with a purpose, forget their task and become lost.
“Wandering is one of the most challenging problems that a caregiver can face when they are caring for someone with Alzheimer’s and dementia. And it can be very, very dangerous during colder conditions,” Taurins said.
“If they are not found quickly, then they can have a very serious injury or even death,” she continued.
The disease can make it difficult for a person to appropriately judge and react to a situation. So especially during colder weather, it is recommended to keep a closer eye on a person with dementia.
“I would just encourage (people) to keep an eye on those who you’re caring for and check in with them (to) make sure they’re doing okay, during this time,” Taurins said.