5 Ways to Keep Seniors Safe in Hot Weather
While summer is often the time of year where people get outside to enjoy the weather, sometimes the heat can get dangerous. Seniors are more vulnerable to the summer heat as their bodies don’t adjust as well to sudden temperature changes, certain medical conditions can alter their body’s responses to heat, and various prescriptions could prevent sweating or get in the way of the body’s temperature regulation.
The risks of overheating include dehydration, heat stroke, and heat exhaustion. If you or an elderly loved one experiences weakness, headaches, dizziness, nausea, confusion, heavy or no sweating, muscle cramps, or passing out when out in the heat, contact a health care provider or 911 immediately.
To prevent the risk of any of those conditions happening, here are 5 things to keep in mind to help seniors stay cool during the dog days of summer:
Keep Them Hydrated
Keeping a cool water bottle at your side will go a long way in keeping body temperatures regulated! People tend to lose the ability to conserve water as they age, but because seniors’ bodies don’t adjust to temperatures as quickly as younger bodies, they might not notice they are thirsty until they are close to getting dehydrated. So, drink up! Sports drinks that include electrolytes such as Gatorade and Powerade are also essential to make sure seniors are replacing the salt and potassium they lose through sweat.
Find a “Cool” Place
If a senior’s home isn’t air-conditioned, it’s a good idea to take them out of the house to somewhere like a shopping mall, movie theater, library, or senior center to help keep their temperature regulated. This also allows for exercise in a cooler environment! As temperatures really rise, many communities often open cooling centers in fire and police stations, schools, or other public buildings.
Not only should the fabric of clothing be light, but the colors should be as well. Dark-colored clothes absorb heat, so stick with brighter colors. Utilize lightweight material and layers that are easy to put on and remove so that temperature can remain stable as you go in and out of air-conditioned buildings. A wide-brimmed hat is also a great tool in keeping cool and staving off sunburn.
Cool showers and baths with water just below body temperature are great ways to keep the body cool. If there isn’t time to take a full shower or bath, you can also soak washcloths and towels with cool water and place them on wrists, ankles, armpits, and the neck.
Having a senior put his or her feet in a pan of cool water can help, too.
Dense, warm meals will be counterproductive to staying cool. A hot lasagna or big plate of barbecue might sound great, but on hot days, consider switching to a chicken or pasta salad, half a cold cut sub, or anything else light and cold.
Keeping cool is not only about comfort, it’s about safety for seniors during the summer months. Taking small steps to regulate body temperature will make sure seniors stay happy, healthy, and are able to fully enjoy all the summer has to offer.
Skilled In-Home Senior Care in Montgomery County, MD
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