Summer is here, which means it's time for fun in the sun and some much-needed relaxation. For older adults and their caretakers, safety should be top-of-mind as well. After all, depending on where you live, you could see temperatures skyrocket to well over 100 degrees!
According to the National Institutes of Health, seniors are especially prone to hyperthermia, which occurs when the body can't adequately respond to increases in temperature. This can result in conditions like heat exhaustion, fatigue and stroke. To ensure the season is enjoyable for folks of all ages, stay cool with these following tips:
1. Dress up in cool clothes
Many home health providers have to help their senior clients with getting dressed each day - an especially important task in the summer months. After all, an older adult who is not prepared to perform this daily task may end up in a sweater and coat when it's sweltering outside.
While tanks and capris are great for cooling off, they won't protect the senior from the sun. Ensure the individual is wearing sunscreen when you head outdoors, and consider having him or her wear a hat. The head wear will create a little bit of shade to help shield the body from harmful UV rays. Also, if it's cool in the morning, opt for layers so the senior can remove them throughout the day.
A hat can help protect the senior's skin from the sun.
2. Take water everywhere
Always have a cold bottle of water on hand, and keep track of how much fluid the senior consumes and with what frequency. This will help stave off dehydration, which can lead to anything from a minor headache to decreased blood pressure. The latter symptom should be considered a medical emergency, according to the Mayo Clinic, and it's best to avoid getting to that point altogether.
If the older adult is reluctant to sip on plain water, flavor the beverage with pieces of fruit. Just be sure to avoid alcoholic beverages, as this can increase the risk for dehydration.
3. Find fun indoor activities
The best way to beat the heat is to not go out at all. While caretakers should still spend time outdoors with the seniors during summer, indoor activities might be better on especially hot days. For example, check out the latest movie at the theater for a morning matinee. Otherwise, arrange a day to scrapbook and look through old pictures!
As a home health provider, it is important to keep your senior clients safe this summer. With these tips, you can help the client avoid heat-related illness while still enjoying the season.