Beat the Heat: Tips for Seniors to Stay Cool This Summer

Seniors above the age of 65 may be especially vulnerable to the risk of heat stroke, heat exhaustion, or other heat-related illness.

Seniors may be much more likely to develop sunburn because of the specific texture of their skin, and may also be at a high risk of heat-related illness because of the medications that they are on.  Additionally, many of the medical conditions that seniors suffer from can affect the body’s normal and natural responses to heat. The elderly often overdress, increasing the risk of heat stroke, and may be less able to sense the need to change the temperature artificially in a room.

A major risk for seniors is heatstroke, a condition which occurs when the body is no longer able to naturally control its temperature.  Never take heatstroke lightly.  If untreated, there can be permanent disability or even death.  Symptoms of heatstroke include extremely red or hot skin, dryness of the skin, high body temperature which crosses 103°F, an accelerated pulse, dizziness and nausea.

To avoid heat stroke and heat exhaustion this summer, drink cool beverages frequently.
Drink plenty of water, even when you’re not thirsty.
Take plenty of rest, and avoid physically strenuous activity.
Take frequent cool showers or baths.
Use air-conditioning to lower the temperature in your home.
Plan your outdoor exercises or walks for the early morning or late evening when it is much cooler.
Avoid alcohol and caffeine as much as possible.

There’s much that caregivers can do to alleviate heat exhaustion risks.  Frequently check on the senior to make sure that there are no signs of heat exhaustion.  Drive the elderly person to an air-conditioned location to spend time in cool surrounds, if there is no air-conditioning in the house. Older people may not necessarily remember to take off extra items of clothing when they go out, and therefore, caregivers can help them dress comfortably when they are outside the house.  If you have a senior citizen in your care, make them wear sunblock (minimum SPF 15) when they go outside.  Switch on air-conditioning systems, or windows and ventilator systems as soon as you enter the room.

A senior care companion can act as a caregiver to help reduce the risk of heatstroke and heat exhaustion, by monitoring water intake and house temperature, and looking out for signs of heat exhaustion. Contact us today to get some help.

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