Summer Heat Safety, Elderly Tips, pt. 5
We have just lived through our 3rd summer heat wave this year. It is, now, still the middle of summer. Will we get another round of heat?
Here are some additional heat tips for elder consideration:
— Plan your day to avoid heat exposure. Remind your aging parents that taking it easy in the summer can help their overall health and energy levels. When exposed to the sun, the body has to work overtime to keep cool. Heart and metabolic rates increase, too. This is why doing something as simple as sitting outside can leave seniors feeling fatigued.
When the humidity or dew point is high (heat index), it’s best to relax and avoid certain outdoor activities. Plan activities such as exercise, gardening, lawn care, home repair, etc. for cooler weather.
— Be aware of healthy and hydrating foods in your diet. In addition to increasing fluid intake, there are many fruits and vegetables that can keep elderly parents nourished and hydrated. Have them readily available to enjoy as a snack. Or, serve them as a side dish with meals. Cut some up and put in water to infuse with extra flavor.
Hydrating fruits: Watermelon, Strawberries, Grapefruit, Pineapple, Grapes
Hydrating vegetables: Cucumbers, Romaine lettuce, Celery, Radishes, and Zucchini
— Regularly communicate with elderly parents. There is no substitute for a call or visit with seniors in hot weather. (Or, any time.) Check-in to ask whether they’re drinking water and staying hydrated? Offer to pick up their favorite beverages or hydrating foods if they’re running low. Ask how much time they spend outside? Are they using sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses? Does the air-conditioning work?
Finally, many towns now offer certain community buildings as “cooling centers”. This provides a safe, comfortable place for seniors to stay cool during the heat of mid-day. Call your local town hall or senior center for details.
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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