It’s no secret that folks of all ages love spending time outside and enjoying the beautiful weather that comes with spring and summer. But, it is important for seniors and their loved ones to be aware of the added risks that warm weather pose. Whether living independently or with assistance or full-time care, here are a few tips from Care.com (full-length article here) to keep in mind as the weather heats up.
1- Stay Hydrated
Seniors are more susceptible to dehydration than younger people, and may have a harder time adjusting as they age. It is important to remember to drink water often (more often than you’d think!) and even consider sweat-replacement products with electrolytes and potassium.
2- Talk To Your Doctor
Aside from medical conditions that could be worsened by warm weather, talk to your doctor about any medications you’re taking. Some medications are less effective when stored at higher-than-room-temperatures.
3- Keep Your Cool
Some medical conditions affect the body’s ability to cool down. So make sure that you find a cool, air-conditioned place to spend time, especially during the warmest parts of the day. If your home isn’t air-conditioned, look for public spaces or local senior centers that may offer activities indoors to give your body a break from the heat!
4- Stay In Touch
Seniors should let their families or caregivers know if they’ll be exercising or spending extended time outside, and likewise, loved ones should reach out to their senior relatives a few times a day to check in.
5- Know Who to Call
Create an emergency checklist of numbers to know, and place it somewhere easily accessible in case of an emergency!
6- Wear the Right Stuff
If you’re inside or out, wearing loose, cotton, light-colored clothing will help you feel cooler and more comfortable. Wearing sunglasses, a hat or visor, and sunscreen when out in direct sunlight is always a smart choice, too. If you choose to exercise or spend time outside, make sure to apply bug spray to prevent bites and the spread of infectious diseases, like West Nile Virus from mosquitos.
7- Be On the Lookout for Hyperthermia
Abnormally high body temperatures (called hyperthermia) is a scary possibility for the elderly in the summertime. But knowing the signs and symptoms, and taking some of the precautions listed here are an important preventative step. Get medical attention immediately if you or a loved one experience:
- A body temperature over 104 degrees
- Confusion or irritable mood
- Dry, flushed skin
- Nausea or vomiting
- Heavy breathing or rapid pulse
- Clammy skin but a lack of sweating