Navigating Daylight Savings Time with Dementia: Tips from Heather Glen Senior Living

Navigating Daylight Savings Time with Dementia: Tips from Heather Glen Senior Living

Image of a clock and a couple sleeping.

March 5, 2024

As spring approaches, we’re all getting eager to enjoy the rejuvenating elements of fresh air, warmer temperatures and sunnier days—but for seniors, especially those with dementia, the impending Daylight Savings Time (DST) brings unique challenges. At Heather Glen Senior Living, we recognize that this transition can be particularly difficult for seniors with dementia, who may experience heightened confusion, anxiety and disorientation. Shifting our clocks an hour ahead on March 10 can disrupt their already fragile sense of time and routine—which is why our team of experts has compiled a set of helpful tips to support seniors with dementia in adapting comfortably to DST and making the most of the upcoming spring season.

Understanding the impact of dementia on time perception

Dementia is a complex condition that affects not only memory—but also perception and cognition. Seniors with dementia often struggle with understanding and interpreting time, making transitions such as daylight savings time especially challenging. The disruption in routine and the confusion caused by the change in time can lead to increased agitation—however, there are a number of ways to help combat these setbacks and make the time change as smooth and comfortable as possible.

At Heather Glen Senior Living, our dedicated team of caregivers understands the nuances of dementia care and strives to create a supportive environment that minimizes stress and maximizes comfort for our residents. Whether you’re taking care of your loved one at home, or if they’re in a trusted Lehigh Valley senior care community like Heather Glen—it’s important to understand that consistency and familiarity are paramount for seniors with dementia, especially during periods of change. 

Practical strategies for a smooth transition

To help seniors with dementia adjust to the time change, we recommend the following strategies:

  • Maintain a consistent routine: Stick to a predictable daily schedule as much as possible. Consistency provides a sense of stability and security for seniors with dementia, helping to reduce anxiety and confusion. Familiar activities at regular times, such as meals and recreational activities, can provide reassurance and help seniors feel grounded amidst changes in time.
  • Gradually adjust sleep schedule: In the days leading up to daylight savings time, gradually adjust bedtime and waking hours by small increments. This gradual approach can help seniors with dementia acclimate to the new schedule more smoothly. Additionally, ensure that the sleep environment is comfortable and conducive to rest by adjusting bedding, temperature and noise levels as needed.
  • Create a calm environment:  Minimize noise and distractions in the evening to promote relaxation and improve sleep quality. Dimming lights and engaging in calming activities such as reading or listening to soothing music can help signal to the body that it's time to wind down. Consider incorporating relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or gentle stretching to further promote relaxation and prepare for sleep.
  • Encourage exposure to natural light: Exposure to natural light during the day can help regulate the body's internal clock and improve mood and sleep patterns. Encourage seniors to spend time outdoors or near windows during daylight hours to reap the benefits of sunlight. Taking short walks or sitting outside in a comfortable area can provide opportunities for relaxation and rejuvenation while enhancing the body's natural circadian rhythm.
  • Provide reassurance and support: During periods of confusion or agitation, offer gentle reassurance and support to help calm and comfort seniors with dementia. Validate their feelings and provide a comforting presence to alleviate distress. Engage in soothing activities together, such as reminiscing about pleasant memories, to foster connection and promote a sense of security.

Enjoy the spring season with Heather Glen Senior Living

As daylight saving time brings a shift in our clocks on March 10, it also presents an opportunity for us to embrace change with compassion and understanding. At Heather Glen Senior Living, we’re proud to stand as a beacon of support for seniors and their families throughout all seasons of life, offering guidance and care every step of the way. By understanding the unique challenges that seniors with dementia face during transitions such as daylight savings time—we can work together to create a nurturing environment that promotes comfort, stability and well-being. Through practical strategies, compassionate care and unwavering dedication, we can navigate the time change with grace and dignity—ensuring that every senior feels supported, valued and cherished.

At Heather Glen Senior Living, we are here to support our beloved residents during all stages of life—ensuring that your loved one is always cared for with the utmost respect and compassion. To learn more about our personal and memory care communities within the Lehigh Valley, give us a call at (610) 841-4478 or fill out our online form today to plan your visit.

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