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Living with Dementia: Preparing for Severe Weather – Part 2

This is the second in a two-part series about how to prepare for severe weather if you have loved ones with dementia or Alzheimer's disease.

In Middle Tennessee, you never know what the weather will bring. If severe weather forces you and your family from your home, how can you make the experience as stress-free as possible for elderly loved ones with dementia? Whether you end up in an emergency shelter, a hotel, or another person’s home, it makes sense to focus on preparing for severe weather. These tips will help.

  1. Try to maintain as much of a normal routine as possible, especially related to medication administration; mealtimes and sleep routines. Having a written schedule will help others be able to follow the routine if the normal caregivers are not always available. Familiar foods and items will also help minimize disruption.

  2. Remember that someone with memory problems may not remember or understand what is happening and why things are different. Be prepared for new problems or increases in previous behaviors such as agitation, wandering, hallucinations, and sleep disturbances. Do not leave the person alone. In an emergency situation, people with dementia can get lost very quickly. When appropriate, let others know that your loved one has dementia and may not understand. This includes family members, hotel personnel or shelter staff.

  3. Do your best to remain calm. People with dementia often respond to other’s emotional tone.

  4. Try to prevent agitation. Physical contact such as holding hands or putting your arm around a shoulder can be calming. Let your loved one know you are there and that someone will always be there for them.

  5. Introduce new people and encourage physical contact.

  6. Use calm, positive statements with a low pitched voice. Offer frequent reassurance.

  7. Find outlets for anxious energy by taking a walk or offering simple tasks such as folding clothing or linens.

  8. Redirect attention and provide a quiet place if possible.

  9. Provide simple explanations in a calm reassuring voice.

  10. Watch for signs of too much stimulation often seen by fidgeting or pacing.

Ask for help and make sure you get some rest during these difficult times. With a little preparation, you can minimize the disruptions to your loved one’s life.

Do you need help caring for an elderly loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia? Johnson McGinnis Elder Care Law & Estate Planning can help. Give us a call at 615.824.2571.


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