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. 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 starts in the spring. 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 can also help.
- 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 light 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.
- Be careful driving. Research shows fatal car accidents increase the week daylight saving times begins. Have a conversation with your loved one about driver safety and emphasize the importance of not getting behind the wheel if they feel sleepy.
Your healthcare provider is the best resource for addressing any physical or behavioral issues that come about with daylight saving time.