Experts share tips for caring for the elderly with memory loss during extreme heat waves

13 NEWS at 10 p.m.
Published: Jul. 31, 2023 at 10:29 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - As heat waves continue across much of the nation, healthcare providers want to make sure you know how to properly care for loved ones with memory loss.

“Extreme heat is difficult for all of us. so you take that and then you add on Alzheimer’s or some other kind of dementia and it makes a very significant impact on someone’s safety. So its very important to really think about things you can do in advance so that we don’t have any tragedies,” says Juliette Bradley, Kansas State Director of Communications at the Alzheimer’s Association.

Some tips from the National Alzheimer’s Association include keeping your loved one well hydrated, fed, out of the sun and in loose, comfortable clothing.

So hydration is a huge deal. One of the main things I tell my staff is fluids, its make or break. It can cost somebody their life. You get dehydrated your kidneys stop working, it can affect other parts of your body. It is life threatening by not being able to have all the fluid you need then you add the heat to it, its going to dehydrate you even faster,” says Jayce Knight, Health Care Director at Legends at Capital Ridge Senior Living Facility.

Healthcare providers say its important to look out for signs your loved one may be uncomfortable and possibly overheated.

So all of the signs that we first see are they have increased confusion, they’re more tired. A lot of the elderly population they don’t sweat as much as the younger generation do so that’s not really a sign that we can catch,” says

When someone actually wanders from home the main reason isn’t because they want to get up and walk out the door the reason they are wandering is because something is wrong. So what we want to make sure is that we’re tending to that person on a regular basis and checking are they agitated. So look at what’s different and what we want to make sure that we do is that we keep that person in a very safe place,” says Bradley.

And the best thing you can do?

“Listening is the best thing you can do with your loved one. You can be very simple when you’re taking care of your loved one and just being together and touching that person and holding their hand, listening, putting on some music that you know that they loved when they were younger. All of those things are things that you can do anytime whether it’s cold or hot outside,” says Bradley.

In case of an emergency or if you have questions you can call the National Alzheimer’s Association helpline 24 hours a day, by clicking here.