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Jo Crossland on Keeping Safe This Winter

We know how important it is for our mental and physical well-being to be active and to get outdoors as often as possible. Living at home with dementia doesn’t have to change that, even during the current restrictions to our daily lives. Wherever possible, it’s sensible for a person with dementia who is living at home to get out and about with others, but sometimes a person with dementia may want some time alone – don’t we all?

To keep a person with dementia as safe as possible whilst avoiding unnecessary (and often frustrating) restrictions, there are a number of things to consider:

  • Making sure the person has some form of ID on them; maybe an ID bracelet or a card in their pocket with a contact number if they run into difficulties.
  • Encouraging the person to walk in well-lit, familiar areas.
  • Asking the person to let someone else know when and where they are going.
  • Giving the person an easy-to-use mobile phone so that they can be contacted. The tracking device on a mobile phone can also be activated for additional reassurance.

There are several discreet tracking devices available on the market which may be worth considering such as watches or other devices that can be fixed to clothing, but the vital thing to do is to make sure that the purposes of such a device are understood by everyone – especially the person with dementia.

Living well during the Winter

For people living with dementia, winter can be a particularly challenging time; with colder temperatures and unpredictable weather further restricting life. To help support residents living with dementia during the winter months, the following advice is sensible to follow:

  • Encouraging movement and staying active. Making sure residents remain physically active can help to maintain good circulation.
  • Making the most of the natural daylight. Although days are so much shorter at this time of year, it is still important to help residents access natural daylight outdoors wherever possible.
  • Finding routines that work for individual residents. Many of us are creatures of habit who find comfort in familiar routines, and this can be especially important when a person has dementia and finds change difficult to cope with.