1. Drink Lots of Water: Seniors are more prone to dehydration because the body’s ability to preserve water and sense of thirst decreases with age. Even if you don’t feel thirsty, stay hydrated! Seniors should strive to drink 6 to 8 glasses of water and avoid caffeinated and alcoholic beverages, which promote dehydration. Also consider a sweat replacement product that contains salt and potassium to restore water lost during summer months.
2. Stay Cool: Seniors are more at risk to the summer heat because it is harder for their bodies to adapt to rapid temperature changes. If you do not have air-conditioning, try taking a fresh bath or shower to lower your body temperature. Shopping malls, movie theaters and libraries also provide cool environments to escape extreme temperatures.
3. Dress Appropriately: In the summer, seniors should keep a wide variety of loose, light-colored clothing to stay cool. Seniors are advised to wear secure shoes that tie, as sandals or flip-flops can be a tripping hazard. When exposed to the sun, wearing a hat is beneficial for individuals with light colored hair and those who no longer have a full head of hair. Sunglasses should also be worn to block out harmful UV rays from the sun.
4. Protect Your Skin: Everyone should wear some sort of sunscreen when directly exposed to the sun, but seniors in particular need further protection; applying sunscreen multiple times throughout the day is essential if outdoors. Consider using insect repellent to lower the risk of being bit by a mosquito with a virus that could cause encephalitis.
5. Stay Alert While Exercising Outdoors: Always dress in appropriate attire keep track of the time to prevent being outside too long. Think about taking a walk early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid the climax of the sun. Remember that it is vital to drink even more water than usual when exercising!
6. Be Aware of Heat Stroke: Older individuals have a higher risk of suffering a heat stroke over any other age range. A heat stroke is a complex type of hyperthermia that can be deadly. If you or anyone you know show signs of these symptoms seek medical attention immediately:
- A body temperature greater than 104 degrees
- Confusion, difficulty speaking/understanding others
- Flushed skin
- Nausea and vomiting
- Rapid breathing and racing heart rate
- A lack of sweating, even if it's hot out
7. Maintain Communications: Keep in touch with family, friends and neighbors. Always let someone know when you plan on going outside for a prolonged timeframe. If possible, arrange for someone to come by and check up on you every once in a while too. Company is never a bad thing!
8. Consult With Your Doctor: Talk to your physician to make sure the medications you take won't be affected by hot temperatures. Certain medications lose their efficiency when exposed to warm environments, which can cause an unnecessary medical situation. Ask your doctor beforehand to prevent the heat from ruining your fun in the sun!
Staying aware of the potential hazards during the hot summer months can help ensure a safe and fun summer for all – now go enjoy yourself!
Concordia Lutheran Ministries has a long history of helping seniors and their families, whether in our beautiful eastern OH and western PA senior care facilities or in their very own homes through home care. And as one of the most comprehensive providers in the country, we're able to find the right fit from a care and cost perspective.