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The Dementia Caregiver's Little Book of Hope [Kindle Edition]
National Institute on Aging
National Institutes of Health
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Summer and dementia are a tricky combination. In dementia, be careful with the danger of hyperthermia (a kind of overheating) almost any summer day. Learn how to avoid the heat and get quick relief.
Now that Li Ming is retired, she likes to work in her garden—even in hot weather. Then last summer, an unusual heat wave hit her area. The temperature was over 100°F, and the humidity was at least 90%. By the third day, her daughter Kim came over because Li Ming sounded confused on the phone. Kim found her mom passed out on the kitchen floor. Li Ming's large fan wasn't enough to fight the effect of heat and humidity. She had heat stroke, the most serious form of hyperthermia.
How to RespondAlmost every summer, there is a deadly heat wave in some part of the country. Too much heat is not safe for anyone. It is even riskier for older people and especially for those with a dementia such as Alzheimer's. It is important to get relief from the heat quickly. If not, one may begin feeling confused or faint. The heart could become stressed and maybe stop beating.
If you suspect someone is suffering from a heat-related illness:
- Get the person out of the heat and into a shady, air-conditioned or other cool place. Urge the person to lie down.
- If you suspect heat stroke, call 911.
- Apply a cold, wet cloth to the wrists, neck, armpits and/or groin. These are places where blood passes close to the surface of the skin, and the cold cloths can help cool the blood.
- Help the individual to bathe or sponge off with cool water.
- If the person can swallow safely, offer fluids such as water or fruit and vegetable juices, but avoid alcohol and caffeine.