Advice for carers
A study that involved more than 3,000 people across North America and France, examining trends in mental function in people, has found a marked difference in decline across the seasons of the year.
An article published in the British Medical Journal shows people with dementia are mentally more alert in summer and autumn, but mental function declines by the equivalent of almost five years in the winter and spring months. The number of dementia diagnoses also increases during the period.
Care UK dementia expert Suzanne Mumford said: “The summer and autumn are warm, and the long evenings make it easier to get out and about. Our muscles ache a bit less and we are full of optimism and energy.
“However, it is easy to see how people get fewer opportunities to exercise or socialise as much during the short, cold days and long, dark nights. The associated lack of movement, conversation and contact can impact on wellbeing, which is why our homes have an active programme of events during the day and evenings throughout the year.
“We invite children from local schools into our homes to take part in arts and crafts sessions and music events; we have pet therapy visits, with everything from chameleons and owls to alpacas and miniature horses; and we have trips to the theatres and participation in events such as the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch event, all of which keep people active and engaged. We also keep people moving with activities that involving dancing, armchair aerobics and walks in the community.”