Senior Safety and Summer Heat, pt 4
Some advice for the elderly in hot weather…
* Dehydration in seniors is the root of many heat-related health problems. It removes important salts and minerals from the body. Heat can cause dizziness, fatigue, headaches, and other health issues for seniors. Severe or long-term dehydration can lead to hospitalization, bladder infections, kidney stones, and more.
Drink plenty of liquids to avoid dehydration in seniors
— 100% juice drinks, like pure orange juice or apple juice
— Sports drinks high in electrolytes
— Coconut water
Avoid drinks that lead to dehydration, such as alcohol and caffeinated drinks.
* Wear appropriate clothing: It’s important to choose your clothing carefully when it’s hot outside. This seemingly small decision can make a huge difference. Clothing, and even accessories like umbrellas, can help you prevent sunburns and heat exhaustion by allowing the body to cool more easily. Think about the following:
— Light-colored clothes
— Lightweight fabrics or materials
— Loose-fitting clothes
— Hats or sunglasses
* Stay indoors during mid-day hours: It makes good sense to stay out of the hot sun. During extreme summer heat, the best time to be outdoors is before 10 a.m. or after 6 p.m., when the temperature tends to be cooler. Stay cool inside and note the following tips:
— Close your windows and blinds during the day
— Take cool baths or showers
— Sleep in your coolest room and use light linens
— Turn off artificial lighting and electronics
* Pay attention to the heat index and dew point
While many people regularly check the outside temperature in their area, it can be helpful to reference weather reports that note the heat index and dew point as well. Many weather apps and websites will list the temperature as well as the “feels like” number, which factors humidity and temperature to approximate how the weather really feels.
A high dew point means there’s more moisture in the air. The higher the dew point, the muggier it feels and the more you need to worry about your elderly parents. Note the following dew point ranges:
— Less than or equal to 55: comfortable or dry
— Between 55 and 65: muggy or sticky
— Greater than or equal to 65: very hot and damp
Preparation is key to for elderly health. Keep safe this summer.
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John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions.
Phone: (781) 378-2164