It’s that time again: time to find ways to help seniors stay safe in the summer heat. Those temperatures are creeping into the 90s in Plano and the Texas sun is due to be sweltering soon. As much as the hot weather is a hassle for us, it can be doubly so for the seniors you know and love. Elderly individuals are at much greater risk for heat-related illnesses and health crises than anyone else. It doesn’t take long before dehydration, heat exhaustion, and the harsh Texas sun can have a serious impact on your loved ones.
So what can you do to help seniors stay safe in the summer if you’re playing the role of part-time or full-time in-home caregiver?
1) Combat Dehydration
First of all, water is your friend. Elderly individuals gradually lose their ability to conserve water. Our skin becomes a less effective barrier against evaporation and we don’t absorb as much of the water we take in. It’s essential that in-home family caregivers watch for signs of dehydration (including headaches, dizziness, and lethargy). In addition, you can beat dehydration to the punch by ensuring your loved ones are drinking enough throughout the hot days.
2) Stay Cool
Hyperthermia (excess body heat) can cause serious health crises—especially in older individuals. Another way to help seniors stay safe in the summer months is to ensure they have a cool space available at a moment’s notice. That’s when AC can literally be a lifesaver. Now is the time to ensure your senior’s air conditioning is working correctly and safe. Have the central air cleaned and serviced to avoid equipment malfunctions and remove health hazards like mold and allergens.
3) Beware the Sun
An aging individual’s skin is more susceptible to burns from UV radiation. Sunscreen and proper clothing are essential for helping seniors stay safe in the summer. Look for light, loose-fitting clothing or purchase modern fabrics with built-in UV protection. Layer those clothes so you can adjust the outfit for indoor and outdoor activities. If you’re relying on sunscreen lotions or sprays, look for higher SPF ratings and remember to reapply frequently.
4) Sunglasses Prevent Eye Injuries
Because a senior’s eyes actually react to changing light conditions much slower than a young person’s, proper UV protectant sunglasses are essential. They keep seniors safe in the summer months here in Texas by blocking those harmful rays and protecting delicate retinas (which can be physically damaged by the sun). But be careful! Remember to remove those glasses before going back inside and allow seniors a moment so their eyes can adjust when encountering a change in lighting.
5) Recognize Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke
While our core body temps rise and our natural moisture content drops, our bodies begin to shut down bit by bit. Heat exhaustion can manifest itself as:
Weak or rapid pulse
Muscle cramps or contractions
If you notice any of these symptoms seek a cool place immediately and administer cool (not cold) water. Remove clothing and give a cool shower or sponge bath if necessary.
Heat Stroke is more serious and must be treated immediately.
Blurred or spotty vision
Ringing in the ears
High body temp
Elderly individuals suspected of suffering from heat stroke should attempt to cool down using the methods above and a health professional should be consulted immediately. If necessary call 911.
Help Seniors Stay Safe in the Summer Even When You Can’t Be There
You can’t always be there to provide the type of care your aging loved one’s needs yet they can stay safe while you’re away. Second Family Home Care can. We provide non-medical in home care on an as-needed basis in Plano and the surrounding areas. Our caring professionals provide a variety of services and can stay with your loved one when you can’t. Schedule an in-home consultation so we can show you how much we care–call (972) 347-0700 today.