July 2023 Newsletter


Beat the Heat!

Importance of Staying Cool in the Summer for Older Adults and Those with Dementia


As the summer season begins, it is crucial to highlight the significance of staying cool and hydrated, especially for older adults and individuals living with dementia. Here is some important information and tips to help keep older adults and those with dementia cool and comfortable this summer.

1. Recognize Vulnerabilities: Older adults and individuals with dementia may be more vulnerable to heat-related illnesses. Aging bodies have a reduced ability to regulate body temperature. Dementia can affect the person's judgment and communication, making it challenging to express discomfort or seek help. Therefore, it is crucial to be proactive in managing their well-being.

2.  Stay Hydrated: Encourage frequent fluid intake, even if the individual does not feel thirsty. Offer water, juices, and hydrating foods throughout the day. Keep water easily accessible and remind them to drink regularly. If necessary, set up written reminders or use labeled cups to facilitate hydration.

3. Keep Indoor Spaces Cool: Ensure that indoor spaces, especially the individual's living environment, are adequately cooled. Use air conditioning, fans, or open windows during cooler hours to maintain a comfortable temperature. Create a cool space where they can retreat to when the heat becomes overwhelming.

4. Dress Appropriately: Choose loose-fitting, lightweight, and breathable clothing for the summer months. Opt for light-colored fabrics that reflect sunlight rather than absorbing heat. Encourage them to wear a hat and sunglasses when going outdoors to protect against excessive sun exposure. 

5. Manage Outdoor Activities: Minimize exposure to extreme heat by planning outdoor activities during cooler times of the day, such as early morning or late evening. Consider shaded areas and well-ventilated spaces for outdoor gatherings. Encourage them to take breaks, rest in cooler areas, and avoid strenuous activities during peak heat hours. 

6. Sun Protection: Apply sunscreen with a high SPF to exposed skin, even on cloudy days. Encourage the use of sun hats, umbrellas, and protective clothing to shield against harmful UV rays. Remind them to seek shade whenever possible and to wear sunglasses to protect their eyes.

7. Monitor Air Quality: Stay informed about air quality levels in your area by utilizing local air quality monitoring resources or smartphone applications. This knowledge will help you plan outdoor activities on days with better air quality. 

8.  Monitor for Signs of Heat-Related Illnesses: Be vigilant for signs of heat exhaustion or heatstroke, including dizziness, confusion, rapid heartbeat, nausea, headache, and excessive sweating or lack of sweat. If any symptoms arise, move the individual to a cooler place, offer fluids, and seek medical attention if necessary.

9. Check on Neighbors and Loved Ones: Look out for the well-being of older neighbors, friends, or family members who may be more susceptible to heat-related issues. Regularly check in on them, offer assistance, and ensure they have access to a cool environment and necessary resources.

10. Caregiver Support: If you are a caregiver for someone with dementia, it is important to take care of yourself as well. The heat can be physically and emotionally draining, so prioritize your own well-being to better support your loved one. Seek respite care if needed and reach out to support networks for guidance and assistance.

By taking these proactive measures, we can ensure that older adults and individuals with dementia stay cool, comfortable, and safe during the summer months. Let's come together as a community to provide the support and care necessary to beat the heat.

The RAFT Dementia Support Team is committed to promoting the well-being and quality of life for individuals living with Alzheimer's and dementia. We encourage everyone to stay cool, stay hydrated, and stay connected this summer.


Alzheimer's Society. (n.d.). How to support somebody living with dementia in hot weather. Retrieved from https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/blog/how-support-somebody-living-dementia-hot-weather

Gong J, Part C, Hajat S. Current and future burdens of heat-related dementia hospital admissions in England. Environ Int. 2022 Jan 15;159:107027. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2021.107027. Epub 2021 Dec 7. PMID: 34890899; PMCID: PMC8739554.

Where You Live Matters. (n.d.). Summer safety for memory care. Retrieved from https://www.whereyoulivematters.org/summer-safety-for-memory-care

Older adults
RAFT logo

Dementia Support Program


The RAFT Dementia Support
Program aims to give individuals
living with dementia, their family,
and their caregivers the
information and tools to live with
dignity, respect, and meaning.

Program Highlights

The RAFT Dementia Support Program was featured on the Aging Matters Podcast and WERA-LP 96.7 FM in Arlington, VA. Listen now!


Anyone can make a referral to the program, using the online referral form.

Or contact Sydney Palinkas at spalinkas@arlingtonva.us or 703-814-2701. 


7611 Little River Turnpike
Suite 200
Annandale, VA 22003

Phone: 703-531-2144
TTY: 703-228-1788

Email: raftdementia@arlingtonva.us