5 Summer Senior Care Tips to Battle the Heat

7/26/2015

Wink Martini here, checking in from the sunny Maryland! I don’t know how about you, but chilled martinis have been a life-saver for me this summer. Not sure how I would survive the heat without them. As for my pops, he’s also been complaining about heat, so I got him a personal fan and a hefty supply of bottled water. I’ve read on the internet the other day that on average 658 deaths related to heat exposure occur in the U.S. every year. That got me thinking how to keep my pops nice and cool this summer, considering he’s pretty sensitive to heat. Here is a list I came up with, and hopefully it will help you care for your loved one as well.

summer heat

Ensure The AC is Working

The CDC estimates that among the heat-related deaths that occurred at home, over 90% took place in a home with no or non-working air conditioning. If you’ve ever experienced a 100-degree heat wave without air conditioning, you know how strenuous it can be for a young, healthy adult. Now imagine what it’s like for an elderly person! If your elderly loved one lives alone, be sure to frequently check on the status of their AC. Make sure they are able to turn it on and adjust as necessary. If repair or replacement is needed, don’t delay, and contact an HVAC technician right away to schedule an appointment.

Hire a Professional Caregiver

Not surprisingly, the majority of people who die at home due to extreme heat live alone. With no one to check on them or call for help, they are in a hopeless situation. If you don’t have the time to visit your loved one as often as you would like, hire an experienced Maryland caregiver to tend to their needs. Besides making sure the indoor temperature is comfortable and there is enough water in the fridge, a caregiver can run errands to save your loved one a trip to the steaming-hot outdoors.

Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated in summer is important for everyone, especially seniors whose aging bodies have lost their ability to conserve water as well as they used to. Make sure your loved one always has access to liquids, particularly water. If they have difficulty moving, place water close to where they spend most of the day, so that it’s always within their reach. If your loved one is active and tends to venture outside frequently, supply them with a portable container they can fill up with water and carry with them. Check if they have a cell phone and know how to use it and who to call in case of an emergency.

Dress for the Weather

As we get older, it becomes more challenging for our bodies to regulate internal temperature. Wearing the right clothes for the weather is increasingly important for the elderly to both stay comfortable and prevent heat stroke. In summer, clothes made with natural fabrics such as cotton are your best bet. Loose, light-colored clothing typically makes it easier for the skin to breathe and sweat to evaporate. Hats, sunglasses and sunscreen are also a must for anyone planning to spend a significant amount of time in the sun.

Avoid the Hottest Part of the Day

The hottest part of the day is between 10am and 4pm. Advise your loved one to schedule outdoor activities some time before or after the peak heat hours. Things like gardening, running errands, walking the dog or refilling a prescription can typically be done any time of the day, so there is no need to expose yourself to the merciless sun.

Know the Signs of Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is dangerous and can often be mistaken for fatigue or other medical conditions. As Maryland caregivers, we are familiar with the signs of heat stroke and recommend that both seniors and their family members get familiar as well. These symptoms include:

  • Disorientation and confusion
  • Dry skin
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Fainting

If you are looking for an experienced caregiver to take care of your loved one during these hot summer months, get in touch with 2nd Family to request more information about our home care services in Eldersburg and Towson.

 

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