While Summer is a glorious time for most people, it can also increase many health risks for vulnerable populations like our elderly loved ones.
In fact, the Center for Disease Control reports that older adults are particularly vulnerable because they often do not adjust well to sudden changes in temperature, may have an already existing condition or may take a prescription medicine that affects how the body adjusts to temperature. Furthermore, according to research conducted by the University of Chicago Medical Center, over 40% of heat-related fatalities in the United States were among people over the age of 65.
To make sure your senior loved one has a safe and healthy Summer we have compiled the Wiser Home Care Services comprehensive guide to senior summer safety for 2019. These 12 tips will ensure you and your loved one enjoy every last bit of Summer.
Run Errands Outside Early or Late
During the summertime peak heat usually hits from 10 am to 4pm. If your elderly loved one has any outdoor chores or errands, we recommend doing them first thing in the morning or in the evening when it cools down. Avoiding peak heat hours will help reduce their risk of heat related illness.
Dress with the two L’s: Layers and Light Color
It is true, dark colors attract sunlight and absorb warmth. During the warm Summer months, we recommend dressing in light colors. In addition, layering up is a good way to make sure senior loved ones stay cool outside, but also have enough clothes to keep a comfortable temperature in buildings that have air conditioning or during cool summer evenings.
While we are on the topic of air conditioning, if your senior’s place of residence does not have air conditioning, encourage them to visit a friend who does or seek out a public area with air conditioning. Many senior centers, malls, theaters, and libraries have air conditioning and are great places to spend a hot afternoon.
Spread Some SPF
Protecting our skin from the sun is critical all year, but especially during the Summer when the sun is beating down hard. Make sure your senior uses broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF rating of 15 or higher.
Stay in Touch
We know you can’t always be there for your loved one but during the Summer you should consider calling or texting them on a daily basis to check up. If you can, try to visit them in person on a regular basis too. This will give you peace of mind that they are staying safe, cool, hydrated, and healthy.
Stay Hydrated, Stay Hydrated, Stay Hydrated, Stay Hydrated
Did we say stay hydrated? We really can’t stress this enough. Keeping your senior loved one hydrated during the hot summer months is vital for good health. Experts recommend 6-8 cups of water a day if you are sedentary and more if you are active. Further, make sure they are drinking water, sports drinks or juice and not soda, coffee and alcohol. Another good way to stay hydrated is to eat foods high in water content such as cucumbers, radishes, watermelons and strawberries.
Know the Warning Signs of Heat Sickness and How to Treat It
As we mentioned earlier, heat stroke and other heat related illnesses are especially dangerous for vulnerable populations such as our elderly loved ones. However, these issues can often be avoided with the right precautions. For in-depth tips regarding heat stroke, check out our blog titled 6 Ways to Prevent Heat Illness This Summer here: http://wisercareservices.com/blog/heat-illness/ .
Wear Your Shades
Just like too much sun is bad for your skin, it can also irritate and cause damage to your eyes. Whenever you plan on trekking outside, we recommend grabbing shades that are rated to protect you from UV rays.
Don’t Forget the Bug Spray
Insects, especially mosquitoes, thrive during the warm summer months. Not only are mosquito bites irritating and itchy, they can be dangerous for vulnerable seniors.
During the Summer it is tough enough to keep your house cool without the oven on. Even if you have air conditioning, using the oven makes it work even harder. We recommend you opt for something cool like a salad, smoothie, veggies, fruit, or sandwich instead of cooking a meal in the oven.
Check the Effects
Some medications have side effects that include increased sensitivity to sunlight. If your senior is taking medication, make sure they are aware of how the heat and sun can affect them so that they can plan accordingly.
Wiser Home Care Services Can Help
If you have a senior loved one in Pierce or South King County and you’re worried about their safety this Summer Wiser Home Care can help.
We can work with your family to establish a care plan that personally accommodates your loved one’s needs.
Wiser Home Care Services: Care for the ones you love!