Tips to Keep the Elderly Safe in Extreme Heat
As people get older, their natural defenses begin to break down, leaving people age 65 and older more likely to develop health problems related to heat exposure. Seniors also are more likely to have a chronic medical condition that changes normal body responses to heat and are more likely to take prescription medications that affect the body’s ability to control its temperature or sweat.
Heat-related illnesses can include heat exhaustion and heat stroke. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), symptoms of heat exhaustion can include: heavy sweating, cold, pale and clammy skin, fast, weak pulse, muscle cramps, feeling tired or weak or vomiting. If not treated, heat exhaustion may lead to heat stroke.
Warning signs of a heat stroke can include: high body temperature (103°F or higher), hot, red, dry, or damp skin, a fast and strong pulse, confusion. Headaches, dizziness and nausea are also indicators of heat-related illnesses. Heat strokes can be fatal if not recognized and treated in time.
The CDC recommend the below tips to help prevent heat-related illnesses in the elderly:
- Stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as possible—don’t rely on fans as the only cooling source during times of extreme heat. Many cities and towns set up cooling centers during extreme heat events. Take advantage! Seniors sometimes try to get by without using air conditioning as a way of saving money.
- Stay well hydrated by drinking water or sports drinks. Avoid drinks with caffeine and alcohol and don’t wait until feeling thirsty before beginning hydration.
- Limit using the stove or oven to cook during times of extreme heat.
- Wear loose, lightweight and light-colored clothing.
- Take cool showers or baths to cool down.
- Limit strenuous outdoor activities and get plenty of rest.
If you have an older relative or neighbor, it’s important to keep in frequent touch with them during times of hot weather. Keeping in mind that someone may not even be aware of feeling hot or thirsty, it is very important for others to check on the health and well-being of loved ones and friends. For more information on how to care for your elderly loved ones in the summer months, reach out to your local Assisted Living Locators care advisor today!
5 Enjoyable & Safe Summertime Activities for Seniors
The summer months are a great time for seniors to spend time outdoors and connect with family members and friends. Because of health conditions and age-related issues, it’s important to ensure your aging loved one stays safe while having fun during the summer season. Here are a few safe and fun summer activities your loved one is sure to enjoy.
Going On A Picnic
There’s no better way to gather the family together than to organize a picnic. Pick a location that offers plenty of shade, as seniors are more susceptible to sunburns and melanoma. Ask family members to bring different dishes, which will give your loved one a wide variety of foods to choose from. If your loved one has dietary restrictions, make sure there are foods that are compatible with his or her diet.
Swimming is a low-impact exercise that can help your loved one stay active, burn excess calories, stay cool, and strengthen his or her muscles. Additionally, swimming during the hot summer months may help your loved one decrease the risk of falling. A 2014 study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that senior men who swam regularly had a 33 percent reduction in falls over four years compared to men who participated in other exercises. To prevent excess sun exposure, register your loved one for a senior swim class at a local indoor pool.
Visiting A Local Farmers’ Market
The summer months are a perfect time to fill up on vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables, such as melons, berries, and asparagus. Farmers’ markets feature produce from locally owned farms, which means your loved one will be reducing his or her intake of pesticides and other harmful substances. Look for markets open in the early morning hours to allow your loved one to shop during the cooler hours and avoid overheating.
Many seniors experience loneliness and depression, which can increase during the summer months when family members and friends leave for vacation. Encourage your loved one to volunteer for a local nonprofit organization or participate in adult day care which may be available in your area (you can find out more information from your local Assisted Living Locators senior care advisor) to decrease his or her risk of depression. A 2013 study conducted by researchers at the University of Exeter found people who regularly volunteered had a 20 percent reduced risk of developing depression. Check out local libraries, animal shelters, and food banks for opportunities for your loved one to give back to the community.
The warm summer months are the perfect time to ride a bike. Going on a bike ride with family members or friends can provide your loved one with a great workout as well as a healthy dose of vitamin D, which is responsible for healthy bones. Check out your loved one’s bike before he or she rides to ensure it’s working well, make sure they have the balance skills to ride, and ensure your loved one has appropriate safety gear, such as a helmet, before he or she begins to ride.
If you’re the primary caregiver for a senior family member and are looking for a senior care advisor to discuss their current living arrangements, Assisted Living Locators should be your top choice. Our dedicated and compassionate advisors are committed to helping you and your loved ones. Call us today.
An HVAC system helps your elderly loved one stay safe, comfortable, and independent in their own home. They can adjust their heating and cooling system to meet their needs and preferred temperature levels, which ensures they remain at ease while protecting their health from excessive heat or cold. Top tips to remember to help your senior loved one get the most out of their HVAC system are change the air filter and schedule routine maintenance.