As winter comes to an end and the days become longer, many people are caught out by the change in the clocks which happens this weekend..

And for people with dementia, the time change may cause more than just a surprise.

The UK’s leading dementia charity, Alzheimer’s Society, has advised that many of the 92,514 people living with dementia in the South West can find themselves disorientated by the clocks moving forward.

As daylight begins to start earlier and end later, people with dementia may find it difficult to differentiate between 6am and 6pm. This can disrupt their circadian biological clock and make it hard for them and those who care for them to get enough sleep.

Not feeling ready to sleep because it is light outside can cause the person to become overtired, which can cause low mood and affect their ability to think clearly. They may also become irritable and distressed. These changes can also impact those who love and care for a person with dementia.

Here are four top tips from Alzheimer’s Society to help people with dementia overcome challenges:

1) Think about having your evening meal and going to bed an hour earlier on Saturday, so that the person can still get their usual amount of sleep and wake up at their usual time on Sunday.

2) Use a visual aid to help the person with dementia identify the start and end of the day. Alzheimer’s Society’s online shop sells ‘Day and Night’ clocks which include simple visual symbols.

3) Going outside and getting some gentle exercise can help the person feel sleepier during the evening so they go to bed at their usual time. If the person is unable to go outside, helping them keep active during the day can have a similar effect. Think about using blackout curtains to reduce sunlight in the evenings too.

4) Having a routine during the day and at bedtime can help regulate a person’s disrupted body clock. Do regular activities at the same time each day.

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