Hi, this is Anthony Diaz here. Yes, the summer is here and we have the pink flamingos and misters going to make it more comfortable for our residents. Still, we need to remember that the heat can take a toll on seniors. Extreme heat is a leading cause of preventable death among seniors and with recent record-breaking temperatures, it is important seniors and caregivers know how to stay safe in hot weather.
Seniors do not feel the heat the way younger people do, and so might not be aware of the risks of high temperatures. Physiologically, as we age our bodies lose some natural ability to regulate temperature, making seniors more susceptible to temperature changes in the environment according to experts at the American Geriatric Society’s Foundation for Health in Aging. Last week in our blog, we talked about foods that can help hydrate seniors. This week let’s talk about basic heat tips.
Always try to be in an air-conditioned environment. If you do not have air-conditioning at home, visit an air-conditioned shopping mall, restaurant or library. Also have seniors take a cool shower or place cool towels around pulse points such as the neck and armpits.
Drink plenty of cool, non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated beverages without too much sugar. When the body sweats, it loses vital salts and minerals, so grab a sports drink. If liquid intake is limited, eat cold fruits that contain high amounts of water like watermelon and cantaloupe.
Stay out of the sun during the warmest parts of the day which is usually between 10 or 11 am and 3 or 4 pm.
Limit strenuous activity and exercise. Our body works hard enough during the hot days that adding strenuous physical activity can be detrimental. If your senior exercises regularly, try it during the early morning or late evenings. Planning around the hottest time of the day can help to limit exposure to the heat.
Take frequent breaks to cool down. When spending time out in the hot sun, it’s beneficial to take numerous breaks to recover. Having a cool area in his or her home in which to recover can also be beneficial.
Seniors may be much more likely to develop sunburn because of the specific texture of their skin so use sunscreen whenever possible and light long sleeved shirts.
When planning for an outing or picnic with the seniors coming along, prefer places with cool shades and ventilation
Give seniors cool treat like ice creams, popsicles, and any other frozen refreshing treats to keep everyone cool during the hot season. They enjoy those tasty summer treats too!
Pink flamingos and misters won’t prevent seniors from getting heat stroke so please follow simple tips to make sure your loved one is protected from the heat this summer.