Summer is a time for outdoor fun! But, while the scorching sun and soaring temperatures can be potentially dangerous for anyone, seniors need to be extra cautious.
These four summer health tips for seniors can be used to ensure that both you and the people you care for are staying safe this time of year.
Check on family and neighbors throughout the summer – particularly those who do not use air conditioning. Remember that a lot can happen in a few hours, so check in at least twice a day. If your loved one does not live nearby, see if a local neighbor can check in occasionally. Write up a list of key emergency numbers so that if an issue does occur, the right people are quickly notified.
Seniors and others who have been diagnosed with serious chronic health conditions can find summer temperatures make their conditions worse. Make plans with your loved one to visit air conditioned places like a family or friend’s home, a library, senior center or the mall.
Not only does the climate control give them a break from the heat, but it allows for exercise and socializing in a safe and cool environment.
When a loved one does need to be in a warm space, be sure they dress accordingly in light, loose-fitting clothes with hats and sunglasses as needed. When possible, practice summer safety by trying to do outdoor activities and errands in the morning or evening when the sun is at its lowest.
Seniors often find their feeling of thirst decreases as they age. By the time a person feels thirsty, they may already be dehydrated. Seniors should drink water often and caregivers should ensure that they bring water with them whenever they leave the house.
In addition, individuals living with Alzheimer’s or other dementia may even forget to drink water, so it is important to remind them to drink water throughout the day. If seniors are exercising or performing actions that cause them to sweat, make sure that they are drinking beverages that include salt and potassium to replace minerals they lose through their sweat.
Recognize the Signs of Heat Stroke
This is one of the most important summer health tips for seniors. Watch for signs of heat stroke including confusion, dry skin (i.e. not sweating in a high temperature environment), headache, lethargy, nausea, a rapid pulse, and/or a body temperature over 104°F. If you see these symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.
What are some tips you have for staying cool during the summer?
At Crown Hospice, we are here to offer help and resources to help make end-of-life planning easier. Call us at (573) 335-4800.