Giving rise to sunshine, beach trips, and outdoor hobbies, it’s no surprise that summer is a much-loved season across all generations.

While the warmer months can be equally as enjoyable for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia, family caregivers may need to take some extra precautions to help senior loved ones enjoy the sunshine safely.

What Challenges Might Seniors with Dementia Face During Summer?

Seniors with dementia can be more susceptible to dehydration in the summer months. As explained by Alzheimer’s Society,1 this increased risk of dehydration may be due to memory problems causing them to forget to drink water. The brain region responsible for communicating thirst may also not work as well in people with Alzheimer’s, which can ultimately lead to a person not recognizing their thirst.

The Alzheimer’s Association2 notes that if a person takes sedatives, diuretics, or certain heart medications, they may not sweat as much, even if they’re very hot. This could make it more difficult for family members providing dementia care to notice that loved ones are struggling in the summer heat.

The potential impacts of hot weather on individuals with dementia have been widely researched. A 2013 study3 examining Medicare participants across 135 U.S. cities found that people with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia were 8% and 6% respectively, more likely to die on an extremely hot day.

Further research in 20194 found that high-temperature variability led to an increased risk of dementia-related hospital admissions. In 2022, research in England5 discovered that the risk of emergency dementia-related hospital admissions increased by 4.5% per 1°C (33.8°F) above 17°C (62.6°F), concluding that people with dementia should be considered a high-risk group during periods of hot weather.


What are the Common Signs of Dehydration in Seniors with

Alzheimer’s Disease?

Dementia UK6 has a helpful list of signs of dehydration in people with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia.

Some key indicators to look out for include*:

  • Increased confusion.
  • Mood changes (e.g., becoming agitated).
  • Dark urine, infrequent urination, or constipation.
  • Sleepiness or withdrawal.
  • Bad breath or dry mouth and lips.
  • Sunken eyes and dry/shriveled skin.

*There are many more potential signs of dehydration – these are just a few of the most common.

How Can You Help a Relative with Dementia Stay Safe in


  • Keep hydrated. People with Alzheimer’s or dementia might struggle to notice if they’re thirsty. Or, if they have difficulties communicating, they might be unable to tell you they’re thirsty, even if they know themselves. If you provide dementia care for a loved one in summer, track their fluid intake and watch for telltale signs of dehydration (like the ones outlined above).
  • Prepare for weather conditions. If the temperature is pleasant enough to enjoy, or if your loved one needs to go outside (e.g., if they have an appointment), make sure they’re protected with a high SPF, broad-spectrum sunscreen. A senior with Alzheimer’s might struggle to pick appropriate clothing for the conditions. If this is the case, help your loved one choose a comfortable, loose-fitting outfit, perhaps including a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses for extra protection.
  • Keep out of direct sunlight. It’s always safest to stay out of the sun during the day’s heat. This is particularly true for seniors with dementia who struggle to communicate if they’re feeling unwell. Stick to shaded areas and stay indoors during the hottest hours when possible.
  • Plan indoor activities. Getting out into the sunshine can be fun, but sometimes the heat is too much. Because seniors with dementia are often less able to communicate their discomfort, it might be safer to plan fun indoor activities under the AC on extremely hot days.
  • Be mindful of nighttime temperatures. Many seniors with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia struggle with evenings and nights due to issues like sundowning. Unfortunately, excessive heat or humidity might further exacerbate agitation and discomfort. Use AC and fans to keep your loved one cool and look for signs of increased distress.

How Can Assisted Living with Memory Care Help?

Caregivers in assisted living communities specializing in memory care are trained to meet the needs of residents with conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, and Lewy body dementia. As an expert provider of memory care in San Diego County, we understand how summer weather can affect each of our residents. This allows us to take tailored preventative measures, recognize signs of discomfort early, and ultimately prevent severe distress and heat-related health complications.

But our keen focus on safety doesn’t mean our residents don’t get to make the most of the world-famous San Diego summer! On cooler days, we offer many fun outdoor activities for seniors to enjoy under close supervision, including nature walks and ice cream socials. With a secured perimeter around our ample green outdoor space, dementia care residents can take a morning or evening stroll freely, safely, and independently.

We also host wonderful summer events for families, like barbeques, holiday parties, and musical guest concerts. We believe in creating the perfect balance—one that allows residents to enjoy the summer sunshine in safety and moderation. With plenty of staff members on hand, we’re able to always keep a watchful eye on residents to prevent common issues like dehydration.

To find out why families have trusted us to deliver exceptional assisted living memory care in San Diego for over 40 years, call or fill out our contact form to schedule a tour!


  1. Alzheimer’s Society. How to support somebody living with dementia in hot weather. Published June 20, 2023. Accessed May 22, 2024.,for%20some%20DIY%20air%2Dconditioning.
  2. Alzheimer’s Association. Alzheimer’s and extreme heat: exercise caution. Published July 18, 2022. Accessed May 22, 2024.
  3. Zanobetti A, O’Neill MS, Gronlund CJ, Schwartz JD. Susceptibility to mortality in weather extremes: Effect modification by personal and small area characteristics in multi-city case-only analysis. Epidemiology. 2013;24(6):809-819. doi: 10.1097/01.ede.0000434432.06765.91.
  4. Wei Y, Wang Y, Lin CK et al. Associations between seasonal temperature and dementia-associated hospitalizations in New England. Environ Int. 2019;126:228-233. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2018.12.054.
  5. Gong J, Part C, Hajat S. Current and future burdens of heat-related dementia hospital admissions in England. Environ Int. 2022;159:107027. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2021.107027.
  6. Dementia UK. Good hydration for a person with dementia. Reviewed May 2024. Accessed May 22, 2024.