As families get ready to reconnect under sunny skies, it’s important to make sure older family members are protected from extreme heat. For older adults, warmer temperatures present additional challenges that can be detrimental to their health. Family & Nursing Care Caregivers can be on hand to help prevent and respond quickly to warm-weather health issues that arise – here are some of the things they can do to keep your loved ones safe during the heat of summer:
- Hydration: Hydration is key in the summer, especially for older adults. Caregivers can make it easier for clients to drink plenty of fluids during hot summer days by making sure there is plenty of cool water to drink both in the home and when they are outside, and by reminding them to drink.
- Proper attire: The best clothing for summer is light weight and made of natural materials like cotton or linen. These materials tend to be more comfortable and help our bodies stay cool. Before outings, Caregivers can help ensure their clients are wearing weather-appropriate clothes and have sunglasses and a hat with them to protect from sunburns, irritated eyes, glaucoma-related sensitivities, skin cancers, and more.
- Heatstroke: Older adults have a harder time regulating their body temperature, making them more prone to heat stroke, which can be very dangerous. In extreme heat, Caregivers can help their clients avoid serious issues by watching for changes in their condition which can be precursors to heatstroke. Common signs of heat stroke include a body temperature over 104 degrees, headaches, nausea, not sweating in spite of heat, dry or flushed skin, and fainting. If you notice anyone — especially older adults — with these symptoms, get them to a cooler indoor space, have them lie down, put ice packs on their body, and call 911.
- Mobility Issues: Even normal day-to-day activities require more energy in the summer heat, making it easier to get tired quickly. For older adults who have mobility issues, this problem is exacerbated. Caregivers can provide mobility support to your loved ones, ensuring they enjoy outdoor weather and don’t get too tired while out and about.