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OTHER ITA SITES:
Keeping Alzheimer's Patients Warm
There is a simple reason why older people seem to feel the chill more then others do and that is because body temperature changes with aging and also because skin becomes thinner, the fatty tissue layer under the skin becomes thinner as well.
Of course it is very important to maintain proper body temperature not only for the sake of comfort but also for health reasons in the elderly. Many health complications can arise from a lowered body temperature from increased risk for stroke, heart problems and breathing disorders.
People with Alzheimer’s disease have a more difficult time with keeping warm because they may have lost the ability to let you know that they are cold. But there are some tips and guidelines to help you insure that your patient is comfortable and warm enough.
Set the thermostat to 70 degrees and make sure it stays at that temperature during the night, try to avoid fluctuations as much as possible. At night make sure you have the appropriate amount of blankets available. If you notice the patient’s feet get cold you may want to consider using bed socks to keep them warm. A hot water bottle can also be used for comfort, but the use of an electric blanket is not recommended for someone with Alzheimer’s.
Most patients with Alzheimer’s need the caregivers to help them dress correctly. Many times the patent has a habit of putting their clothes on in many layers with little regard to temperature. As a caregiver help them dress with regards to the temperature, dress them like you would dress yourself, but maybe add a lightweight sweater or long sleeved shirt due to that fact they are probably colder then you are, indoors as well as outdoors.
Diet and exercise play a part also. Proper diet plays a key role in the regulation of body temperature. Have warm meals available in the winter. Exercise and increased circulation aids in keeping the body temperature at a good level.
You may find that your Alzheimer’s patient will sometimes have the tendency to sit for long periods of time and you will also notice sometimes they have the increased need to move around and that is usually a behavioral issue when they cannot seem to keep still. But many times the patient will just tend to sit in one place for long periods of time unless prompted to do otherwise. A fair amount of walking exercise is very helpful in maintaining the body temperature because it helps improve circulation which warms the body.
Just remember that the Alzheimer’s patient needs direction from you in order to be comfortable, because more than likely they will not be able to communicate their discomfort to you.
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