As we wade into the hotter summer months, staying cool is no longer an option, it’s a necessity! During this time, temperatures continue to climb and pose more heat-induced illness risks for seniors. Because the human body can become less sensitive as we age, it becomes more difficult for seniors to adjust to surrounding temperatures and environments. For Seniors living with chronic conditions or taking certain medications, these factors may hinder their body’s ability to regulate or control temperature. With this in mind, it’s important to take necessary precaution in order to keep seniors cool and safe from the heat during the summer.
1. Drink plenty of water
Adequate water consumption is important all the time, but even more so when higher temperatures drain energy much faster than normal. Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration, which can have serious consequences for seniors. Regarding seniors that take medication daily, drinking a good amount of water is necessary to keep medication working properly throughout the day and when exposed to the heat for long periods of time, replenishing fluids is a must.
When you’re out and about with a senior, keep enough cool water on hand and make sure you’re both drinking enough water. It’s also important to consume water before you become thirsty when it’s hot out. You don’t always have to stick to plain water, either. Other beverages, like tea, are good for replenishing fluids, too. You can also eat foods with higher water content to help satisfy your water consumption – just don’t rely solely on this to get you through the day.
2. Dress appropriately
When heading out with your senior, you might find that they’re more inclined to wear a sweater or jacket, but this isn’t usually a good idea if you’re going to be out and about on days affected by higher temperatures. Encourage seniors to wear lightweight, breathable fabrics when leaving the house and bring a lightweight jacket or sweater to keep in the car or in your bag in case it’s needed later. The sweater or jacket could come in handy if you’re planning to go to the movie theater later in the day.
3. Frequent places with adequate air conditioning or fans
When you decide to go out and about with your senior during the summer months, it’s safest to frequent places where adequate air conditioning is available. Take them to peruse an indoor mall, enjoy a treat at a coffee shop or visit the library or museum. This way, neither of you will have to endure the heat for long periods of time, keeping you both safe from the heat and harmful waves from the sun while enjoying activities within your community.
4. Stay inside during the unbearable days
Several days occur during the summer when it’s just too hot to go outside. When the sun is just too scorching to step outside, explore ideas to have fun while staying cool inside with the air conditioning. Some ideas can include playing board games, watching a movie, or reading a book. There are infinite activities to keep you and your senior occupied and entertained when it’s too hot to go outside.
5. Know your senior’s health conditions
Certain medical or health conditions can make seniors more vulnerable to the effects of the heat. Keep track of their health conditions, medications they’re taking and the potential side effects. Speak with their doctor about current diets and treatments that could affect the way their bodies regulate temperature. Knowing this information ahead of time can aid to avoid complications from occurring later on.
6. Learn the signs of heat stroke, heat exhaustion, dehydration
Do you know the signs of heat stroke, heat exhaustion or dehydration? Many heat-related illnesses have common symptoms, but some also carry differing symptoms. For example, heat stroke produces hot and dry skin while heat exhaustion produces cold, clammy skin. Common symptoms of heat-induced illnesses include nausea, headache, feeling dizzy or tired and more.
No matter what activities you choose to do with your senior relative, friend, or client, companionship means a lot. Keep these tips in mind if you decide to brave the summer sun and above all else, make the most of it!
If you or a loved one need senior care solutions, contact us and we will be happy to help explain your options and help you find what will best suit your needs.