When you think of summer you think of fun in the sun and time spent outside with friends and family. We all do! For seniors the heat and humidity can be dangerous unless precautions are taken to keep them healthy and happy all summer long.
What can you do to make sure your aging loved ones (and as a matter of fact yourself and your family) stay safe during the lovely days of summer? Here are a few tips:
- Keep hydrated. Make sure water is always available and that you’re drinking it all day long. The elderly are more prone to dehydration than younger people because, as we age, our bodies lose their ability to conserve water. Seniors may also become less aware that they need to drink. Make it a routine to ingest water throughout the day. Add cucumber, lemon or lime slices to a pitcher and fill it with water to keep in the refrigerator for a quick, delicious drink.
- Make sure you talk with your doctor to be sure that none of the medications you’re taking will lead to a sun burn or sun sensitivity and what you can do about it. Remember too, that certain types of medications can be negatively impacted by high heat and humidity so you will want to store those medicines in a cool, dry space.
- Stay cool and sit in cooled rooms. Seniors are at greater risk for heat stroke and its symptoms creep up slowly. Make sure the seniors in your life have air conditioned rooms to relax in. Also install ceiling fans to help circulate the air. Floor or window fans are also ideal to use in rooms that are not air conditioned to help circulate the air.
- Dress in cotton and loose clothing to help keep the body cooled.
- Plan a daily phone call to your aging loved ones to check in and make certain they’re doing well. If you don’t live close enough to pay a visit, it’s a great idea just to set a specific time of the day for a quick check in. If your parents are tech savvy you could arrange a daily video chat as well – that’s a great way to have an even more intimate conversation! Also, you may want to gift your aging loved ones with a home medical monitoring device. In the event they suffer a trip or fall accident or other health emergency these life-saving devices allow them to summon medical assistance at the touch of a button. There are also daily check-in services available which may add greater peace of mind.
- Know the signs of hyperthermia which include a body temperature of 104 degrees, a change in behavior, vomiting, dry, flushed skin, heavy breathing, rapid pulse, not sweating (especially if it’s hot out). If you notice any of these signs you need to either activate your personal medical device or call 9-1-1.
Summer is a time to spend time outside and enjoy the warm days, but you need to make sure your loved ones are doing it in a healthy fashion!
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