Summer is just around the corner, which means that people are looking forward to warm, relaxing days of leisure and sunshine. For most people, summer is a time to take a break from the rigors of the rest of the calendar year by traveling, catching up on reading and enjoying quality time with family members and friends. Although this is just as true for the elderly population as it is for everyone else, it’s important to remember that seniors require a bit more care when it comes to getting the most out of the season.
Hot Weather Safety – Staying Cool
Generally speaking, when temperatures begin to rise, it’s important to remember to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and to avoid overheating by regulating activity and spending adequate time out of the direct sunlight.
When temperatures rise over the 90-degree mark, however, senior safety becomes increasingly crucial.
Here are a few tips for making sure seniors remain safe when the heat becomes dangerous:
- Stay Indoors and use the Air Conditioning
No one likes to be cooped up during the summer months, but sometimes the outside heat is simply too much to bear, especially for the aging population. For those providing senior care services, remember that suggesting and participating in engaging indoor activities can help the elderly maximize their enjoyment of the season when the weather refuses to cooperate.
- Avoid the Sun by Dressing Properly
If trips outside cannot be avoided, it’s important for seniors to dress appropriately for the elements. Light-colored and lightweight clothing items reduce the amount of skin surface that gets exposed to the sun’s rays. Light, wide-brimmed hats protect the head by providing needed shade.
- Schedule Activities to Take Advantage of Cooler Times of Day
During the summer months, temperatures are the hottest during the middle of the day. For this reason, seniors are encouraged to get out for walks and other outdoor activities in the early morning hours or after the sun has set. Thankfully, the days are a little longer during the summer, meaning that seniors have more opportunities to take advantage of outdoor activities – even when the heart of the day is characterized by harsh heat and a blinding sun.
- Enjoy a Cool Bath or Shower
One of the best ways to feel refreshed on an unbearably hot day is to take a cool bath or shower. Doing so cleans the body and helps it cool down. It can also feel great after spending time outside in the sun. Similar methods of staying cool include applying wet cloths to your head and extremities, as well as soaking the feet in cool water.
Proper Hydration Throughout the Day
One of the most important tips for seniors to stay cool and comfortable is to drink plenty of cool water or sports drinks. Other beverages such as soft drinks, coffee and tea do little to hydrate the body. A good way to ensure proper hydration is to keep a glass of ice water nearby for sipping throughout the day. Proper hydration helps seniors (and others) avoid exhaustion and heat stroke, and it improves the body’s ability to regulate temperature. What’s more, drinking the proper amount of water can improve sleep and the enjoyment of other daily activities.
What Can Caregivers Do?
When it comes to the role of senior caregivers during the hot summer months, the key is to ensure comfort and safety simply by being available. Caregivers can help seniors make sure their homes are cool and comfortable, and they can assist with the proper clothing to wear on brutally hot days. Perhaps most important is the ability of a caregiver to help seniors feel vital and fulfilled when going outside isn’t an option.
Are you interested in learning more about how to keep seniors cool, comfortable and safe this summer? Contact Always Best Care today!