Summer Heat and the Elderly

The longer days of summer mean more time for swimming, family cookouts, gardening, and all of those other delightful seasonal activities. However, it also means an enhanced risk for a number of health concerns for seniors, who are more prone to heat-related complications, for example:

  • Heat syncope (faintness/dizziness)
  • Heat cramps
  • Heat edema (swelling)
  • Heat exhaustion
  • And the most serious: heat stroke, an emergency requiring immediate medical care, exhibiting with signs and symptoms that include:
    • Fainting, sometimes to the point of unconsciousness
    • Behavioral changes such as moodiness, aggravation, confusion, loss of balance, as well as others
    • Increased body temperature
    • Flushed, dry skin
    • Pulse rate that may be either weak and slow or rapid and strong
    • A lack of sweat

Compounding the danger even further are factors such as:

  • Chronic conditions such as lung, heart, or kidney disease
  • High blood pressure levels
  • Particular medications, in particular diuretics and sedatives
  • A BMI that is above or below normal
  • Use of alcohol
  • Poor blood circulation
  • And more

How can you best help the older adults you love take pleasure in all that summertime can offer, while preventing a medical crisis? We have gathered some recommendations specific to summer heat and the elderly.

  1. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Make certain an abundance of non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated beverages are always within easy reach of your older relatives.
  2. Maintain a cool home environment. In case the residence is not air conditioned, make certain blinds are kept closed in the day, fans are utilized, and windows are opened each night. If it’s still uncomfortably hot, look into alternative arrangements during the day, such as attending a senior day program or spending time at the shopping center or library.
  3. Organize activities accordingly. Limit exercise along with other physically-exerting activities to the coolest times of the day: during the early morning hours or evening. It’s also best to stay away from running errands during peak hours when shops tend to be more crowded.
  4. Dress sensibly. Loose-fitting clothing made of natural fibers, such as cotton, are most comfortable. When outside, add a large hat for shade and plenty of sunscreen.
  5. Designate a buddy. During family get-togethers, identify someone to be readily available to help keep an eye on older loved ones to make certain they remain comfortable.

For more summer safety tips for seniors, get in touch with Compassionate Nursing Services. We’re also an ideal companion for seniors all through the summer months and beyond, with the professional elder care in St. Louis and the surrounding area that ensure optimal health and wellbeing, including meal preparation and monitoring food and fluid intake, engagement in pleasurable conversations and pastimes, transportation to fun excursions, and so much more.

Email or call us at 314-432-4312 to find out if our elder care services are available in your area, and to ask about a no-cost in-home consultation today.