Snow on the bank of the Thames

How to help people with dementia during cold snap

Alzheimer’s Society is urging people to check on loved ones, friends and neighbours living with dementia as temperatures are set to plummet in the oncoming cold snap.

The cold weather coupled with the cost of living crisis may bring anxiety and challenges for the estimated 78,600 people with dementia across London.

The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for very cold weather with ice and snow.

Jackie Swapp, Regional Manager at Alzheimer’s Society said: “As temperatures begin to plummet, some of us may be preparing our sledges and looking forward to building snowmen.

“But for many, snow and cold weather can bring huge disruption and anxiety.”

The winter can be a particularly difficult time for someone living with dementia.

People with dementia may not always be able to communicate that they are cold or even recognise it.

Alzheimer’s Society has provided some tips to help somebody living with dementia in cold weather:

  1. Make sure the person is dressed appropriately. Layers are key to keeping warm. The best materials for maintaining body heat are cotton, wool, or fleecy fibres.
  2. Keep the room warm. As well as turning the heating on, draught-proofing, thermal curtains and roof insulation can help.
  3. Encourage regular movement to boost circulation and help keep them warm. Simply getting the person to move their arms and legs or wiggling their toes can help.
  4. Make the most of natural daylight to prevent them from feeling anxious, confused, or even depressed.
  5. Stick to a routine. A big change can cause confusion or agitation.
  6. Be careful in icy weather. It can be difficult for someone with dementia to see icy patches on a pavement or understand it may be extra slippery.
  7. Keeping warm uses a lot of energy. It is important to ensure they are eating regularly and drinking enough fluid.

For more information and advice, call Alzheimer’s Society’s support line on 0333 150 3456 or visit

Featured image credit: Mike Fleming via Flickr under CC BY SA 2.0 licence

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