Updated for 2021
As daylight saving time approaches, it’s important to note how the time change can affect seniors – especially those living with dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. Here are some suggestions that can help make the adjustment less disruptive.
- Stick to a sleep routine. Irregular sleep patterns are one of the biggest side effects seniors face when Daylight Saving Time ends in the fall. Going to bed at the same time every night and turning off tablets and smartphones at least an hour before bedtime can help. Experts suggest a cool room is also effective.
- Get outside. Vitamin D from sunlight can contribute to stronger bones, improved mood, improved sleep quality, and cardiovascular health. (Please take all sun safety precautions.)
- Encourage exercise throughout the day – preferably outside, when possible, for sunlight and vitamin D exposure. Avoid exercise too close to bedtime, as that can affect the ability to get to sleep. (Always consult a doctor before beginning a new exercise regimen.)
- Check clocks and devices that alert your loved one of when they should take their medications. Most smartphones and tablets will automatically correct to the new time.
- Keep areas around the house well-lit as it gets darker earlier. Falls are a leading cause of injury among seniors. Make sure paths around the house, such as from the bed to the bathroom, are well lit with lamps and nightlights.
If you notice any physical or behavioral changes that happen around with daylight saving time, talk with your healthcare provider.