People with dementia have an increased sensitivity to indoor environments. That means that their behaviour changes as a result of changes in lighting and temperature, and in particular, people with dementia can become very agitated if their environment is overheated.
For this reason and many others, it is important to ensure people with dementia have access to air conditioning, especially if they live in climates with dangerously high temperatures. If you have a loved one who has dementia but still lives on his or her own, here's what you can do to help keep them cool:
1. Offer help in hot weather
When the temperatures rise, elders are especially prone to becoming ill or lethargic, and in cases where they don't have adequate access to cooling in their homes, they may even die.
If you have a loved one with dementia who lives alone, be sure to check on them during heat waves. Ideally, you should help them set up air conditioning in their homes as well.
2. Use a programmable thermostat
If your loved one has air conditioning, it can be hard for them to remember to turn the thermostat up or down as needed. To remove the burden of this task from your loved one, install a programmable thermostat.
Programmable thermostats allow you to create a range of temperature settings throughout the day. For example, you can arrange to have the air conditioning go off at night when the temps drop but return on during the day when the temps increase.
3. Tie the thermostat to an app on your phone
In most cases, programmable thermostats mean that you don't have to worry about whether or not the temps in your loved one's home are safe. However, if the temperature fluctuates outside, you may need to adjust the settings on the thermostat.
Ideally, you should go to your loved one's home and check to see how he or she is handling the hot weather, but if that is not possible, you want a thermostat that can be controlled with an app on your phone. That way, you can adjust your loved one's thermostat remotely, regardless of where you are.
4. Look for easy-to-use technology
If your loved one wants to retain control of his or her thermostat rather than having you oversee it with an app on your phone, you need something that your loved one can understand and use on his or her own. To that end, look for simple thermostats with very few controls.
If your loved one is prone to spills or falls, consider getting him or her a remote control for the thermostat that he or she can use from his or her chair. Contact a company such as Bell-Air Air Conditioning Pty Ltd to learn more.