The summers are getting longer and hotter, as confirmed by many scientists. As a result, our bodies are exposed to extreme heat for longer periods of time, which increases the risk of heat exhaustion or heatstroke. Seniors are especially at risk during the hotter summer months because of natural body changes as they age, which lowers their tolerance to heat and increases the risks to their physical health.
Like all of us, seniors sometimes aren’t careful enough to protect themselves during the summer months. Here are five things you can do to help your senior loved one have a safe summer and stay healthy.
1. Be Sure They’re Drinking Enough Fluids
As they age, seniors are prone to dehydration, so keep them drinking water throughout the day, even if they say they’re not thirsty. If they want something besides water, sports drinks can be very effective in rehydration. In addition, your senior loved one should avoid alcohol and caffeinated beverages as much as possible as they accelerate dehydration.
2. Avoid Direct Exposure to the Sun
Avoid direct exposure to the sun, especially during the peak hours of 10 am to 3 pm. It’s essential to keep your senior out of direct sunlight as much as possible. Look for shaded spots outdoors to protect their skin from harmful UV rays.
The American Cancer Society uses a catchphrase that helps seniors remember some valuable steps to protect themselves when they are going out into the sun, “Slip! Slop! Slap! And Wrap!” This means “slip on a light-colored shirt, slop on sunscreen, slap on a hat, and wrap on sunglasses.”
3. Limit Strenuous Activity and Exercise
Adding strenuous physical activity to a body already under stress can be harmful to seniors. If they exercise regularly, have them do it during the early morning or late evening hours. The use of an indoor recreation facility with a swimming pool will help keep them safe.
4. Take Frequent Breaks to Cool Down
If they’re going to be out in the sun, have them take numerous breaks. Having a cool spot in their home where they can recover from the heat is helpful. Ensure the home’s cooling device – whether it’s central AC, a portable air conditioner, or an electric fan – is working properly.
5. Know the Side Effects of Their Prescriptions
Many medications that seniors take can make them more susceptible to heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Talk with their doctor about how hot weather will affect them, considering what meds they’re taking.
Be sure to check in on your senior loved one regularly during the summer months. Heat exhaustion, while not being fatal, needs to be attended to as soon as possible. On the other hand, heatstroke can be fatal. So, share these five tips with them and make sure they have emergency phone numbers handy.
New Wave Home Care Can Help
New Wave Home Care of Pasadena offers personal care services that will maintain the quality of life for your loved one. Our home care aides understand the dangers of the hot summer months, and they’ll do everything needed to keep seniors safe. Contact us today, and rest easy knowing that your loved one is being kept safe by a trusted caregiver.