Spring and its Effects on People With Dementia

The recent switch to Daylight Savings time can be a difficult adjustment for those living with dementia. Hear from Regional Memory Care Coordinator Laurie Welch Guthrie about maintaining the well-being of a person living with dementia throughout upcoming changes in schedules and weather.

Spring has finally arrived, and we are putting the colder, darker days of winter behind us. However, the switch to Daylight Savings time and the changes in schedules and weather can be a difficult adjustment for your loved one living with dementia. These changes may lead to difficulties maintaining consistent sleep and wake patterns and these unintended adjustments to routine can lead to worsening dementia symptoms. In fact, some studies have shown that the symptoms of dementia, in particular, “sundowning”, can actually worsen in the winter and early spring.  Routine and consistency are key to the well-being of a person living with dementia. To decrease any disruptions caused by the change in seasons, persons with dementia should be encouraged to take advantage of the better weather and sunnier days. 

The schedule and structure found within our Welch Senior Living memory care neighborhoods encourage consistent routines. Our Life Enrichment programs take advantage of the additional daylight by providing residents with opportunities to become more active in the outdoors and fresh springtime air, thus decreasing any adverse effects to the change of seasons.

  • In our Welch Senior Living Memory Care Assisted Living neighborhoods, your loved one will be able to enjoy supervised walks in the outdoors, observing nature while engaging in ability-appropriate exercise. This type of physical activity has been shown to increase social interaction and improve mood in those living with dementia.
  • Our Life Enrichment programs provide the opportunity to garden on our secured patios and outdoor spaces. Gardening has shown many benefits to people living with dementia including promoting sensory stimulation, improving attention span, increasing strength and balance, and providing your loved one with a sense of purpose. 
  • Once warmer weather arrives, other regularly programmed activities such as book clubs or exercise programs take place in our secured outdoor settings. Residents also regularly enjoy unstructured time in our secured outdoor spaces reading, birdwatching, visiting with loved ones, or simply relaxing in the sun. Increased exposure to sunny days and vitamin D further help to prevent worsening “sundowning” and other dementia-related symptoms.
  • The improved weather allows for more supervised day trips for residents living in our memory care neighborhoods. Day trips have been shown to be beneficial for social interaction. They also encourage reminiscing. Our Life Enrichment Coordinators plan trips that spark memories without becoming overly stimulating. Our residents have enjoyed supervised trips to museums, parks, beaches, restaurants, ice cream stands, and more. 
  • It is vitally important that your loved one stay well hydrated – especially in the sunnier, warmer days of Spring. Our Wellness Teams ensure proper hydration by encouraging residents to increase their fluid intake.

If you have any further questions about Memory Care and whether it may be an appropriate fit for your loved one, please get in touch with me at lguthrie@welchhrg.com or 781-878-6700 x270. You can also click here or give us a call to learn more about Memory Care Assisted Living services at Duxbury House Memory Care Residence.

Article authored by:

Laurie Guthrie, MSW, LCSW, CDP
Welch Senior Living
Regional Memory Care Coordinator
Senior Clinical Social Worker
781-878-6700 x270