The longer days of summer mean extra time for swimming, family cookouts, gardening, and all of those other delightful seasonal pursuits. However, it also means an elevated risk for a number of health concerns for seniors, who happen to be more prone to heat-related complications including:
- Heat syncope (faintness/dizziness)
- Heat cramps
- Heat edema (swelling)
- Heat exhaustion
- And the most severe: heat stroke, an emergency necessitating prompt health care, exhibiting with symptoms that include:
- Fainting, sometimes to the point of unconsciousness
- Behavioral changes, for instance moodiness, aggravation, confusion, loss of balance, and others
- Elevated body temperature
- Flushed, dry skin
- Pulse rate that is either weak and slow or rapid and strong
- A lack of sweat
Compounding the danger even further are conditions such as:
- Long-term conditions, in particular lung, heart, or kidney disease
- High blood pressure
- Certain medications, for example, diuretics and sedatives
- A BMI that is over or below normal
- Consumption of alcohol
- Poor blood circulation
- And more
What are ways to best assist the older adults you love to enjoy everything summer can offer, while avoiding a medical crisis? We have gathered some important summertime safety tips:
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Make sure plenty of non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated beverages are always within reach of your older family members.
- Maintain a cool home environment. In the event that the residence is not air conditioned, make sure shades are kept closed during the day, fans are used, and windows are opened in the evenings. If it’s still uncomfortably warm, investigate alternative arrangements during the day, such as attending an adult day program or passing time at the shopping center or library.
- Plan activities appropriately. Limit exercise as well as other physically-exerting tasks to the coolest times of the day: during the early morning or evening. It’s also a good idea to avoid running errands during peak times when shops tend to be more crowded.
- Dress sensibly. Loose-fitting clothing made out of natural fibers, such as cotton, are most comfortable. When outdoors, add a large hat for shade, and of course, lots of sunscreen.
- Assign a buddy. During family get-togethers, select someone to be on hand to maintain a close watch on older family members to make certain they remain comfortable.
For additional summertime safety tips for older adults, contact Abby Senior Care. We’re also an ideal companion for seniors throughout the summer season and beyond, providing as much or as little care and support in the home as required to ensure optimal health and wellbeing, including meal preparation and monitoring food and fluid intake, engagement in enjoyable conversations and pastimes, transportation to fun outings, and so much more.