Are you planning to engage your elders in safe summer activities? Summer brings warmer weather and many look forward to participating in outdoor activities. While getting sunlight is important, too much heat is not safe for anyone. Especially, the hot weather is not always the best for older adults and people suffering from health problems.
As we have already stepped into summer, let us look out for the summer heat safety tips. This will help the elderly to regulate the risks with heat and avoid hospitalization. Caregivers of the elderly have to be aware of the heat-related diseases and the summer safety tips to ensure they are healthy and safe in the summer.
Why are elderly more prone to summer illness?
Below are some of the reasons why older adults may be prone to summer illness.
- Living in hot climates
- Chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart and lung diseases
- Being overweight or underweight
- Having medications that can reduce sweating
- Age-related changes, etc.
10 Summer Heat Safety Tips for Older Adults
1. Stay Hydrated
Aging can make seniors lose their sense of feeling thirst due to forgetfulness or social isolation. Some seniors avoid drinking water due to incontinence issues and this may lead to dehydration. Dehydration is a serious health issue because it can impact short-term/long-term health issues, increase the risk of constipation, kidney stones, and liver damage. Staying hydrated is very important to avoid the risks of dehydration and to live safely from the summer heat.
2. Stay Indoors
In summer, high humidity and hot weathers are common. It is important to stay indoors to avoid exposure to extreme temperatures. This will help the elderly to avoid hazardous heat issues. Seniors have to beat the summer by remaining physically active in their homes. They can include indoor activities such as indoor swimming, playing board games, reading, dancing, learning arts and crafts to stay active despite high temperatures.
3. Use sun-protection creams while outdoors
Always apply sunscreen of SPF 30+ before being exposed to the sun. This will help elderly to protect their skin from ultraviolet rays such as UVA and UVB. Wearing a hat and sunglasses are even recommended to protect the face and vision from the sun’s rays.
4. Stay in air-conditioned place
As people age, the ability to regulate for a temperature becomes impaired due to natural aging, chronic diseases, or medicinal usage. This makes it harder for them to surge when there is a sudden heatwave. Thus, to be protected, it is essential for seniors to stay cool inside with an air conditioning system.
5. Always check the forecast before stepping out
When planning to step out, it is necessary to check the weather forecast. By doing this, elder ones can know what to expect of the weather, dress appropriately and plan the schedule accordingly. However, it is always advised for seniors to stay indoors when there are increasing trends of heat wave intensity.
6. Keep bugs at bay
It is common in summer that your loved one may flock outside in the evening for pleasant air. When they are planning to move outside especially during twilight, it is necessary to use bug spray or repellents. This will help the elderly to be protected from insect-borne diseases such as West Nile which are often dangerous.
7. Identify the side-effects of the prescriptions
Aging adults are more likely to depend on medications. While every medicine is important, it is necessary to verify if any medication can make your loved ones sensitive when exposed to the sun. This doesn’t mean your loved one should completely avoid going out when having medicine, but it is vital to follow some precautions to avoid health problems.
8. Know the early signs of heat-related illness
When the summer is much closer, it is advised to learn the signs of heat illness. This will help to treat the issue much faster. Overheat can result in heat stroke and heat exhaustion among older adults. Some of the early signs to look out for these heat-related illnesses are feeling tired, headache, muscle cramps, excessive sweating, weakness, etc.
9. Prepare an emergency contact list to stay connected
When your loved ones are alone at home, family caregivers have to stay connected with the caregiving network, friends and nearby neighbors. This will help them to know whether they are staying cool and feeling all right or not. In addition to this, it is crucial to place an emergency contact list near to the elderly. This will help them to get connected when there is an immediate need.
10. Dress appropriately
During summer, it is crucial to have a senior’s wardrobe filled up with loose-fitting and light-colored dresses. Also, make sure that these dresses are lightweight and are made up of natural fabric and cotton material. By wearing these clothes, the sweat of your loved ones can be easily absorbed and they can be protected from harmful sun rays.
What are the common heat-related illnesses in older adults?
How to help elderly stay safe during summer?
Many elderly people prefer enjoying the summer weather by planning to relax and include some outdoor activities. Moving out for fresh summer air is good when elders have a helping hand to guide the summer heat safety tips. Caregivers of Assured Home Nursing are well-trained and they can be the extra set of eyes to assist your loved ones during these hot summer months.
If you believe a professional caregiver can be the one to benefit your loved one, then feel free to get in touch with the experts of Assured Home Nursing. Our registered nurses are always available to understand your loved one’s needs. Call us at (248) 593-8134 for a free consultation.
To know more about our home care services and how our caregivers help the elderly, reach our office today.