Summer has arrived and the sun is shining! Many seniors struggle with cold temperatures, so the warm summer months can be a great time. Unfortunately, the season can be dangerous as well. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, seniors are more susceptible to heat-related illnesses and injury. As we age, our bodies become less efficient at regulating temperature and have a harder time adjusting. This makes heat just as threatening as cold.
There is good news! The fact that someone is elderly does not mean they can’t enjoy the warm weather and all that summer has to offer. They need to be smart about it. We at Hupy and Abraham are here to make sure you have the knowledge you need. If you have a loved one who is elderly or will be spending time in a long-term care facility this summer, a few things can be done to help keep them safe and healthy.
- Try to keep your plans for outdoor activities reasonably short. Do not spend the whole day out in the sun. Limit your outdoor activities to a couple of hours, and then head inside for a break. Try to stay indoors with air conditioning when you can, and do things like swimming to stay cool.
- Drink eight or more glasses of water a day to stay hydrated. You should avoid caffeinated and alcoholic beverages. These drinks can cause dehydration quickly. If you are doing any physical activity or if the weather is particularly hot, increase your intake of liquids.
Know Medication Side Effects
- Ensure that you know if prescriptions require extra precautions. Many medications cause people to be more sensitive to the sun.
Dress Appropriately and Check the Forecast
- Wear light, loose-fitting clothing that is made out of breathable materials. You should also keep sunscreen easily accessible and always wear it.
- Plan your days accordingly to the forecast. You do not want to be stuck out on an extremely hot day.
Have Emergency Contacts
- Prepare a list of emergency phone numbers and place them in an easy-to-access area in case they are needed.
As a Loved One or a Caregiver, Help Seniors Beat the Heat
- Ensure that they have access to air conditioning.
- Help to limit exposure to the sun.
- Visit at least twice a day.
- Watch for signs of heatstroke or exhaustion.
- Ensure they are getting enough fluids to keep for hydration, and that normal body temperatures are maintained.
Maintaining the health and well-being of seniors, both as
in nursing residents and not, should be a top priority in any season. In the event that a facility is failing to meet the resident’s needs in a way that negatively affects their quality of life, speak to the administration about your concerns right away. If they fail to help or make needed changes, you should consult with an experienced nursing home abuse and neglect attorney, like those at Hupy and Abraham.