It’s summertime, both the best and the worst time of year. On the one hand, the skies are bright and sunny, and there is time for family vacations and fun galore. But on the other hand, if you can’t find a way to stay out of the heat, you could be in trouble.
Summer heat is especially dangerous for seniors because their bodies are less able to regulate temperature. This can lead to overheating, which can lead to a lot of even worse problems.
In younger people, the body is made in such a way that if it gets too hot, the brain will send out a signal to cool it off by sweating. In the elderly, this process can be interrupted by several different factors. These factors include poor circulation, insufficient sweat glands, minimal salt in the body, and weight issues, like being over- or underweight.
No matter what causes the problem, though, it is important for you and your senior care aide to keep this in mind. You must take precautions on hot days, whether your loved one is indoors or outside.
Here are some of the ways you can do this:
-Stay inside – This first tip is common sense. If it is hot and muggy outside, you should stay inside! If there is no reason to spend a large amount of time outdoors on a sweltering summer day, then don’t. Just stay inside and enjoy the air conditioning. This is a great excuse to spend the day watching movies or binging on television shows, or taking up a new indoor hobby like arts and crafts, or putting together jigsaw puzzles.
-Keep your home cool – Not having any air conditioning on a hot day can be very bad for a senior. However, if you are in an emergency and don’t have air conditioning for a few days, try opening the windows at night to let in the cool breeze, and using fans during the day. The fans will move the air, making it feel several degrees cooler. You should also keep heavy curtains closed over closed windows during the day, to keep the outside heat from getting in.
-Stay hydrated – Make sure your aging loved one drinks lots of fluids, especially on hot days. Cool drinks with ice like lemonade are a great choice (if they don’t have a ton of sugar), and some sports drinks, fruit juices, and vegetable juices can work wonders as well. The best choice of all, though, is water, as it has no other added ingredients that could wreak havoc on the body while it helps you hydrate.
Although it might be tempting to spend the lazy days of summer outside, remember that your loved one might need to take more frequent breaks, as well as more precautions. Going outside in the heat is fine in moderation, but you and/or your senior care aide should always be on hand to make sure that your loved one is not overheating.