Is there an effect of sun, brightness, and heat on someone with Alzheimer's?

2 answers | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
A fellow caregiver asked...

Is there an effect of sun, brightness and heat on one with Alzheimer? I have notice a change of temperament and personality in my mother in law when we go out during these days of high temperatures in Louisiana.

Expert Answers

Monica is an occupational therapist and designer of adapted dementia products through her company MindStart. Activities for Persons With Memory Loss. In addition, she works with the Minnesota-North Dakota Alzheimer's Association and the University of Minnesota on dementia issues. MindStart provides age-appropriate and stage-appropriate dementia activities, such as games, puzzles, and books. The items are simplified to meet the needs of various stages of dementia while remaining dignified and familiar in appearance

I am assuming the change in temperament and personality you have noted, has been for the worse, not better. High heat and humidity together create discomfort for all of us. In addition, elderly people can be more susceptible to the effects of heat. Yes, your mother-in-law could be bothered by the extreme outdoor conditions yet may be unable to verbally say so or change her environment to be more comfortable. With Alzheimer's comes decreased ability to verbally communicate, so it may be that her change in temperament is her way of communicating her discomfort. You may avoid the hottest parts of the day at this time of year, to keep her feeling comfortable and happy.

Community Answers

Paz2u answered...

My mother says her head feels funny and hurts when the sun hits the top of her head. Things she never complained about before. I did not know if it was from the Alzheimer's or medication side effect.