The longer days of summer mean extra time for swimming, family cookouts, gardening, and all of those other wonderful seasonal pursuits. However, it also means an increased risk for a number of health concerns for seniors, who are more prone to heat-related complications such as:
- Heat syncope (faintness/dizziness)
- Heat cramps
- Heat edema (swelling)
- Heat exhaustion
- And the most severe: heat stroke, an emergency needing prompt medical care, presenting with symptoms that include:
- Fainting, sometimes to the point of unconsciousness
- Behavioral changes such as moodiness, aggravation, confusion, loss of balance, and others
- Increased body temperature
- Flushed, dry skin
- Pulse rate that is either weak and slow or rapid and strong
- A lack of sweat
Adding to the risk even further are factors such as:
- Long-term conditions which can include lung, heart, or kidney disease
- High blood pressure
- Particular medications, for example, diuretics and sedatives
- A BMI that is above or below normal
- Consumption of alcohol
- Poor blood flow
- And others
How can you best help the older adults you love take pleasure in all that summertime offers, while preventing a medical crisis? We’ve compiled some essential summer heat safety recommendations.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Make sure an abundance of non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated beverages are always available for your older relatives.
- Maintain a cool home environment. In case the home is not air conditioned, make certain curtains are kept shut in the day, fans are used, and windows are opened overnight. If it’s still uncomfortably warm, look into other arrangements during the day, such as attending an adult day program or passing time at the shopping mall or library.
- Schedule activities accordingly. Limit exercise along with other physically-exerting tasks to the coolest points during the day: during the early morning or evening. It’s also a wise idea to eliminate running errands during peak times when stores tend to be more crowded.
- Dress sensibly. Loose-fitting clothing made from natural fibers, such as cotton, are most comfortable. When outside, add a large hat for shade, and of course, plenty of sunscreen.
- Designate a buddy. During family get-togethers, select someone to be readily available to keep an eye on older family members to make sure they remain comfortable.
For more summer heat safety tips for older adults, contact Home With You Senior Care, the senior home care Columbia, MD families trust. We’re also the perfect companion for seniors through the summer months and beyond, offering as much or as little care and support at home as needed to ensure optimal health and wellbeing, including meal preparation and monitoring food and fluid intake, engagement in interesting conversations and pastimes, and so much more.