The longer days of summer mean extra time for swimming, family cookouts, gardening, and all of those other wonderful seasonal pursuits. Yet it also means an increased risk for a variety of health concerns for senior citizens, who happen to be more susceptible 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 necessitating immediate medical care, exhibiting with signs and symptoms which include:
- Fainting, sometimes to the point of unconsciousness
- Behavioral changes like moodiness, irritation, confusion, loss of balance, and others
- Increased body temperature
- Flushed, dry skin
- Pulse rate that may be either weak and slow or rapid and strong
- A lack of sweat
Increasing the risk even further are factors such as:
- Acute conditions, such as lung, heart, or kidney disease
- High blood pressure
- Some medications, such as diuretics and sedatives
- A BMI that is over or below average
- Use of alcohol
- Poor blood circulation
- And others
How can you best help the seniors you love enjoy everything summertime has to offer, while avoiding a medical crisis? We have collected some important summer heat safety tips and recommendations.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Make certain plenty of non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated beverages are always within reach of your older family members.
- Maintain a cool home environment. In the event that the home is not air conditioned, make sure blinds are kept closed in the day, fans are utilized, and windows are opened in the evenings. If it’s still uncomfortably hot, consider other arrangements during the day, for instance, attending an adult day program or spending time at the shopping center or library.
- Plan activities appropriately. Restrict exercise along with other physically-exerting activities to the coolest points during the day: in the early morning hours or evening. It is also a good idea to try to avoid running errands during peak times when shops tend to be more crowded.
- Dress wisely. Loose-fitting clothing made from natural fibers, such as cotton, are most comfortable. When outside, add a large hat for shade, and of course, an abundance of sunscreen.
- Designate a buddy. During family get-togethers, identify someone to be readily available to help keep an eye on older family members to ensure they remain comfortable.
For more summer safety heat safety tips for older adults, reach out to Live Free Home Health Care, one of the top-rated home care agencies in Bristol. We are also the ideal companion for older adults throughout the summer months and beyond, providing as much or as little care and support in the home as required to ensure optimal health and wellbeing, including meal preparation and monitoring food and fluid intake, engagement in interesting conversations and pastimes, transportation to fun excursions, and so much more.