The cold, dark days of winter can be tough for loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia. Proper precautions and a bit of planning can keep your loved one feeling safe and secure all winter long.
When the days get shorter, seasonal affective disorder can affect anyone, but those with dementia may find the short days confusing, making them more anxious and disrupting their normal sleep patterns. Combat this by keeping the house well lit – even before the sun goes down.
It’s also important to keep your loved one warm – but not too warm. Individuals with dementia may not recognize temperature changes. They may want to go outside without a coat or be unable to let a caregiver know that an electric blanket is too hot. Check your loved one’s comfort level frequently by feeling their skin to ensure they aren’t burned.
Space heaters can also be a concern if they are left unattended. Monitor their use and place them strategically, so that they aren’t a tripping hazard for someone with unsteady feet. On a similar note, those with dementia may have trouble walking or seeing. They may forget to walk slowly on ice patches on sidewalks, so be sure to keep walkways clear of snow and ice.
Finally, the biggest winter danger for those with Alzheimer’s is wandering. Provide your loved one with a safety bracelet that includes your contact information or sew contact information into their clothing, so they can be quickly identified. Every moment counts in freezing temperatures, so call 911 quickly if your loved one has left the house unexpectedly.
One way to help keep a loved one home, safe, and engaged is by involving them in activities for dementia patients like this sock snowman craft. Family members can join in on craft making to make it fun for everyone involved. We all have to get through winter. Turn your time inside together into happy memories.
Sock Snowman Craft
What You’ll Need
- Tube Sock
- Patterned girl socks
- Googly eyes
- Safety scissors
- Orange foam core or felt
- One Rubber Bands
- Decorative twine, yarn, or string
- Clear Glue
- Cut the foot off of your tube sock.
- Begin filling the tube sock with rice. You may wish to sit the sock in a bowl while doing this to avoid rice spillage!
- Fill the sock with rice until you have a nice sized snowman body.
- Once it is almost full, wrap your rubber band tightly around the top of the sock so no rice can escape.
- Cut the foot portion off one of the patterned girls socks. Slide the upper portion of the sock over your snowman body to make a shirt.
- Place the foot portion of the patterned girl sock on the top of your snowman body to make a hat.
- Add a twine bow to both the body and the hat.
- Glue your googly eyes onto the snowman’s face.
- Finally, add a carrot nose made of foam core or felt to complete your snowman look.
See more activities for dementia patients.
- Remember there’s no such thing as a perfect sock snowman. The goal is to have an enjoyable time making it together.
- If your loved one can no longer use scissors, pre-cut the socks for them.
- While doing activities with a loved one with dementia, engage them in conversation. Play music your loved one enjoys softly in the background to create a positive mood.
- Activities for people with dementia have the best chance of success in the morning between breakfast and lunch when this loved one is well rested. If they don’t want to participate or get frustrated, don’t force it. Try again another time.
Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care is also open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to support patients with dementia and their families. Please call us at 1-888-564-3405 to learn more about how our unique care programs help provide a higher quality of life for dementia patients while helping caregivers avoid burnout.
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