Summer is a time for sun-filled relaxation and enjoyable activities, but for many seniors, the season can be uncomfortable, overwhelming, and even dangerous. Precautions must be so taken so elderly family members can avoid dehydration, sunburns and heat stroke.
Aging makes the body increasingly vulnerable to heat, humidity, and sunlight. Statistics show that people over 50 make up the majority of heat-related complications and deaths each summer. With age, seniors become less sensitive to heat and thirst sensations, making them vulnerable to getting too much sun and not enough fluids. Adding to these risks are chronic conditions and medications that can affect fluid loss.
Steps that help ensure a senior’s comfort and safety during the warmer months of summertime include:
- Stay in air conditioned places. Fans are often insufficient.
- During intense heat, stay indoors.
- When outside, avoid direct sun; wear hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen (minimum SPF 30)
- Wear light, loose-fitting clothing
- Avoid strenuous activity
- Bathe with cool water
- Encourage frequent, small-portion drinking throughout the day
- In-home senior care professionals can perform urine testing and other assessments to ensure your loved one is staying hydrated.
- Seek medical attention should your loved one suffer a sun burn that covers a large area, or has fever, blisters, or extreme pain.
Dizziness, weakness, loss of coordination, sweating, clamminess, normal or slightly raised heart-rate, and nausea are all signs of heat exhaustion and indicate the body isn’t cooling itself properly. The person should rest in a cool place, drink fluids, and bathe in cool water. Heat exposure can also lead to heat stroke, which is a life-threatening condition. Signs of heat stroke include fainting, increased body temperature, confusion/delirium, staggering, dry, flushed skin without sweating, and a pulse rate that is either very rapid or very slow, this can also lead to coma.-. If you suspect heat stroke in your loved one, seek medical attention immediately.
For nearly 20 years, the caregivers at Nightingale Homecare have offered a higher level of in home senior care that includes carefully monitoring our elder clients during the hot summer months. Our expertly trained providers of elder care will assist your loved one for appropriate activities, evaluate and address pain or discomfort, ensure proper hydration, and contact necessary medical professionals should heat-related emergencies arise. Learn more about the caring and competent in home senior care provided by Nightingale Homecare by calling (602) 504-1555 or contact us online.