Summer is the time of year when most people look forward to spending time outdoors and enjoying vacations with family and friends. Most seniors also enjoy the arrival of summer weather and look forward to the warm weather activities. Allcare Home Health Agency, Inc. has prepared some valuable tips for preparing our aging loved ones for the hot weather.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), seniors are more prone to heat-related illnesses and injuries. As we age, the efficiency of our body to regulate temperature reduces because older adults don’t sweat as much as younger adults. As we all know, sweat is the body’s most crucial heat-regulating mechanism.
Seniors store fat differently, which further complicates the regulation of heat in their bodies. This can cause problems in the summer because when the temperature outside rises, the body’s internal temperature also rises. This is why seniors suffer from heat stroke more often during summer than younger people.
Here are some tips for family caregivers and home health aides to consider in preparation for summer:
In hot weather, family caregivers and home care aides should see that seniors dress in loose-fitting, lightweight clothing that allows them to feel cooler and more comfortable.
Research has shown that of all weather-related emergencies, extreme heat can be the deadliest of them all. Heat stroke and heat exhaustion are serious medical issues that are dangerous for seniors. Here are some common signs of heat-related illnesses that every caregiver in home healthcare should watch for:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Tiredness, weakness, or dizziness
- Red and flushed skin
On hot days, the body tends to lose water rapidly, so caregivers should ensure that seniors stay hydrated by drinking enough water even when they do not feel thirsty. Avoid caffeinated beverages or alcohol as they tend to cause dehydration.
Protect The Skin
When outdoors avoid direct sunlight during peak hours of 10 am-3 pm. Apply a generous amount of sunscreen every two hours. Select sunscreen that has SPF 30 or higher and be sure that it contains ingredients that protect against both UVA and UVB rays. Wear protective clothing, sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat.
Most caregivers in home care are usually more concerned about seniors slipping and falling during winter months because of the snow and ice, but slipping and falling during the summer can be a problem too. If seniors spend a lot of time outdoors, be sure that they wear comfortable and sturdy shoes that fit them perfectly. This can greatly reduce their risk of tripping and falling on the walkway or slipping on wet surfaces such as a pool deck.
Check on your Loved Ones
Being in constant communication and visiting frequently with senior family members who live alone is important during the hot days of summer.
Family caregivers and home health aides must take extra steps to keep loved ones safe during summer months. Maintain hydration, shield their fragile skin from direct sunlight and be aware of the symptoms of heat-related disorders. Seniors can enjoy the summer months too, with just a few extra precautions. Make it a fun and safe summer for everyone!
Allcare Home Health Agency, Inc. offers in-home assistance throughout the year in the Raleigh/Durham area. Call (919) 301-0236 today for information.