The longer days of summer mean more time for swimming, family cookouts, gardening, and all of those other wonderful seasonal outdoor activities. However, it also means an elevated risk for a variety of health concerns for older adults, who are more prone to heat-related issues such as:
- Heat syncope (faintness/dizziness)
- Heat cramps
- Heat edema (swelling)
- Heat exhaustion
- And the most serious: heat stroke, an emergency requiring immediate health care, presenting with symptoms such as:
- Fainting, sometimes to the point of unconsciousness
- Behavioral changes including moodiness, irritability, confusion, loss of balance, as well as others
- Elevated body temperature
- Flushed, dry skin
- Pulse rate that may be either weak and slow or rapid and strong
- A lack of sweat
Adding to the risk are factors such as:
- Long-term conditions, most notably lung, heart, or kidney disease
- High blood pressure
- Select medications, in particular diuretics and sedatives
- A BMI that is above or below average
- Use of alcohol
- Poor blood circulation
- And others
How can you best help the older adults you love savor everything summertime has to offer, while avoiding a medical crisis? We’ve collected some important summer safety tips for seniors.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Make certain an abundance of non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated beverages are always available for older loved ones.
- Maintain a cool home environment. In the event that the house is not air conditioned, make certain window shades are kept closed in the day, fans are used, and windows are opened each night. If it’s still uncomfortably hot, look into alternate arrangements during the day, such as attending an adult day program or spending time at the shopping center or library.
- Plan activities accordingly. Restrict exercise as well as other physically-exerting activities to the coolest points during the day: in the early morning or evening. It’s also best to abstain from running errands during peak times when stores are more crowded.
- Dress wisely. Loose-fitting clothing made from natural fibers, such as cotton, are most comfortable. When outside, add a large hat for shade, and naturally, an abundance of sunscreen.
- Designate a buddy. During family get-togethers, designate someone to be on hand to keep an eye on older loved ones to make certain they remain comfortable.
For additional summer safety tips for seniors, contact Inspired Home Care. We are also the perfect companion for older adults through the summer months and beyond, offering as much or as little care and support at home as needed to ensure optimal health and wellbeing, including meal preparation and monitoring food and fluid intake, engagement in interesting conversations and pastimes, transportation to fun outings, and so much more.
Email or call us at 847-787-7572 to learn more about Inspired Home Care’s Algonquin home health services and the communities we serve. To find out if we offer services in your community and to request a complimentary in-home consultation, visit this page on our website.