As we move through the dog days of summer, the more lengthy stretches of sunlight, heightened humidity and higher temperatures can quickly have an effect on the wellness of seniors. Since hundreds of people in America die each summer as a result of heat-related issues, and many of those are older adults, it is vital to take measures to make sure that your older loved ones are safe. Bear these summer safety recommendations in mind, particularly when the outside temperature increases to 90 degrees or higher:
- Avoid sunlight throughout peak periods of heat. Limit outside time to early mornings or evenings, or if the older adult must be outdoors in the middle of the day, ensure he or she is protected by shade. Staying in an air conditioned atmosphere is preferred, but if air conditioning isn’t available in the older adult’s home, find public settings like the library or movie theater to pass time in severe heat.
- Dress accordingly. Lightweight, light colored clothes are recommended when it is hot, and a wide-brimmed hat is perfect when outside in the sun. And, remember the sunblock.
- Drink plenty of fluids, particularly water. There’s nothing better for staying hydrated than plain water, but clear juices can also help. Just ensure the senior avoids caffeinated and alcoholic beverages, which have the opposite effect.
- Decrease bath and shower water temperature. A moderate temperature for baths and showers (not too hot and not too cold) is suggested in hot weather. Positioning cool, moistened washcloths on the neck, ankles, wrists and armpits can also help with cooling.
It is important to maintain a close eye on elderly loved ones during the hot months of summer, as serious heat-related problems, like dehydration, heat syncope, heat exhaustion and heat stroke, could swiftly manifest, necessitating medical attention. If you notice the senior is suffering from weakness, headaches or muscle cramps, dizziness, disorientation, nausea, or fever, call 911 or his or her medical professional immediately for instructions.
Compassionate Nursing Services, the top St. Louis home care agency, provides families with peace of mind in knowing their senior loved ones are secure, healthy and thriving at all times. We can help make sure that seniors are consuming plenty of liquids, that the home environment is comfortable and cool, that balanced meals are prepared, and we can even take care of light housekeeping and laundry duties, run errands, and provide transportation to doctors’ appointments or fun outings. Whatever the need, Compassionate Nursing Services is ready to help!