Barcelona, July 21st 2020
Fundació ACE recommendations for the summer
Experts advise familiar surroundings and relaxed environments for living with Alzheimer's during the summer holidays
• Specialists insist on the importance of maintaining a routine during the summer, since confinement by COVID-19 has altered the habits of people with Alzheimer
• Measures must be taken to avoid dehydration and other health problems resulting from high temperatures, according to Fundació ACE
Visit familiar environments, take care of food and hydration to avoid heat stroke and maintain cognitive stimulation activities such as reading, walking or painting. These are some of the tips that the experts at Fundació ACE - Barcelona Alzheimer Treatment & Research Center have included in a decalogue to help people living with Alzheimer's disease during the summer holidays.
At this time of year it is common that the routine and habits of many families to undergo changes, but these alterations can directly affect people with Alzheimer's and their caregivers. In addition, in recent months, routines have already been modified due to confinement by COVID-19 and, therefore, this year we must be much more aware of the importance of maintaining habits.
For this reason, as much as possible, it is necessary to maintain daily cognitive and physical activity, such as establishing a series of daily guidelines or activities and having the person participate in simple tasks such as setting the table or playing a game of dominoes. In this way, situations of anxiety or stress generated by excessive stimuli can be avoided.
According to specialists, familiar surroundings and relaxed environments are the most suitable for people with Alzheimer's to feel comfortable and avoid dangerous and disorienting situations. They recommend, at the same time, that those affected be accompanied at all times, especially in open spaces such as the beach.
The deputy director of the Daycare Unit of Fundació ACE, América Morera, maintains that the most important thing is to adapt to the specific needs and abilities of each person, and highlights the importance of the caregiver also being able to rest and recover strength during this period. "We must not give up on holidays, it is a matter of adapting to the new situation so that summer can be a time of rest and comfort for everyone," explains Morera.
The danger of dehydration
High temperatures and excess heat can produce a loss of liquids and mineral salts necessary for the proper functioning of our organism. It is common for people with dementia not to remember the last time they drank, to feel less thirsty and to have an unvarying diet. On the other hand, it is also likely that they are exposed to the sun for longer than recommended and therefore there is a risk that dehydration and heat stroke may occur.
In this sense, Natalia Tantinyà, Head of Nursing at Fundació ACE's Daycare Unit, urges caregivers to be especially attentive to people with dementia and ensure that they maintain healthy habits and routines to cope with the heat. "Depending on the habits and daily routines of each person, we must ensure that appropriate measures are taken to prevent heat stroke, such as drinking water on a regular basis, not going outside during the hottest hours (such as midday or early afternoon), avoiding overheated meals and wearing light clothing", says Tantinyà.
These are some of the guidelines that professionals advise to follow to avoid dehydration or other health problems derived from high temperatures. The signs and symptoms that can be detected in heat stroke are headache and dizziness, accelerated breathing and heart rate, or even behavioral alterations.
For all these reasons, in the case of people with dementia, it is necessary that their caregivers and their closest environment pay attention to the possible appearance of these symptoms and, if necessary, contact the health services.
More information on this link.