Alzheimer’s Association warns about protecting those with dementia from excessive heat

TULSA, Okla. — The excessive heat can be dangerous for people of all ages and abilities, but the Alzheimer’s Association urges you to keep a special eye out for loved ones with Dementia.

Drinking water and spending time in an air-conditioned space can be difficult to remember for someone with Dementia.

Jacob Guinan is the Community Outreach Coordinator for the Alzheimer’s Association chapter in Tulsa. He told FOX23 that it’s important to remind your family member of these tips and be aware it may not be obvious when something is wrong.

“Making sure our loved ones are able to stay hydrated especially when they’re out in extreme heat, and that’s because signs of dehydration like headache and dry mouth and fatigue might be harder to detect in a person who’s living with Alzheimer’s because they can’t let us know how they’re feeling some of the time,” he explained.

Guinan said wandering off is common in those with Dementia and presents an added danger with temperatures approaching triple digits this week, “that really ups our risk for heat stroke and dehydration and other severe heat risks.”

Preparation, however, can help eliminate this risk.

“Making sure that we have safety guards on doorknobs for example or making sure we have security systems that alert us when a door is open because it could mean our loved one is trying to leave the house when it’s not safe,” said Guinan.

Also, tell neighbors about your loved one with dementia. This way, if they’re seen wandering or suffering outside in the heat, they can call you. It’s also a good idea to keep a recent photo of your relative on-hand in case they get lost for you to give to police.

The Alzheimer’s Association is hosting an information session next week for family members looking to learn more about the disease. It’s at 7 p.m. on August 5 at the Tulsa Technology Client Services Center.