As the nights get longer, residents of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight are preparing to set reminders to wind their clocks back on October 30 to reflect the change in season.
But for people with dementia across the county, where more than 22,380 people are estimated to be living with the disease, the time change may cause more than just a surprise.
The Alzheimer Society has reported that people with dementia can find themselves disoriented by the clocks rolling back.
As winter mornings grow darker, people with dementia may struggle to tell the difference between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., disrupting their body clocks, which prevents them from getting enough sleep.
Some people with dementia may also experience something called “sunset” as the days get shorter.
Sunset refers to a change in behavior in the late afternoon or towards the end of the day. During this time, the person may become intensely anxious or confused.
Kelly Inwood, Alzheimer Society Regional Manager for Hampshire and Isle of Wight, said:
“For the majority of people, the annual daylight saving time change is simply greeted with a slight shrug and a reminder to identify all the clocks you own to go back one hour.
“While this may be a minor annoyance for the majority of people, for people with dementia it can trigger anxiety, confusion and irritability.”
Here are three tips from the Alzheimer Society to help people with dementia overcome the challenges of changing the clock:
- Doing regular activities at the same time each day – for example going for a walk after breakfast, can help a person with dementia understand the time.
- Getting out in the morning can help reset a person’s body clock, making them more sleepy in the evening. If the person is unable to get out, the same effect can be created by turning on a lamp or light box.
- The Alzheimer Society’s online store sells a variety of “day and night” clocks that have all the features of a traditional clock, but also include simple visual day and night symbols to help people with dementia distinguish between time of day.
The clock can be purchased online.