Keep your loved ones with dementia safe through this holiday’s winter storms.

While the snow, wind, and colder temps coming this week are a major inconvenience for most of us, for individuals with dementia, they can be life-threatening. The fact that the winter storm’s arrival coincides with the holidays is creating a quandary for families as they consider travel, holiday family gatherings, and religious holiday services.

The Alzheimer’s Association shares these winter weather tips to keep yourself and your loved ones safe:

  • If traveling – Check airline (or train) and highway condition sites, depending on the mode of travel. If possible, depart earlier to avoid likely flight cancellations/delays and poor road conditions.
  • When venturing outside – Dress the person with dementia in extra layers. Put boots or warm shoes on them; and ones with rubber soles. Have them wear a hat, scarf, and gloves/mittens. Cover all skin, so none is exposed to the elements. Watch for slick conditions on sidewalks and driveways. Have them walk slowly and take their arm.
  • In the car – Bring a blanket and have the car heated up prior to having them get in. Limit time outside.
  • Holiday religious services – If an option, go to morning or day services as opposed to evening/night services when temperatures are colder. Also check and see if there is a virtual offering for a service, to avoid going out at all.
  • Holiday family gatherings – See if get-togethers can be moved to occur during the day to avoid taking the person with dementia out in the evening. Ask family members to stop by and visit the person with dementia in their home, so they don’t have to venture outside.
  • Time at home – Dress the person with dementia more warmly even when inside. Put on extra lights to combat the dark winter days/nights. Monitor closely for agitation or restlessness from having to stay inside. Play soothing and joyful music to lift their spirits.

Read more safety tips can by visiting the Alzheimer’s Association website. The Alzheimer’s Association 24/7 Helpline also provides reliable information and support to all those who need assistance. Call the helpline toll-free anytime, even on holidays, at 1.800.272.3900.