Summer is a wonderful time full of joy and excitement for many. But for aging individuals (especially those in parts of Texas) summer can be difficult. The heat can cause a host of health problems and make life miserable. But with a little planning and some simple steps you can make summer fun again for everyone. Here are 10 summer safety tips for seniors in Texas and beyond.
Summer Safety Tips for Seniors
1) Drink Water–Dehydration can be a killer. Seniors are at increased risk because their skin is thinner and doesn’t retain moisture as well. So drink plenty of water. In rare cases when water isn’t enough your doctor can recommend other fluids (fortified with salts and potassium) to help.
2) Eat Lightly–Light meals (especially those served cold) can actually help keep your body cooler. Simple ingredients like veggies, cold soups, fruit, and salads (pasta, chicken, etc.) require less “work” to eat and are easier to digest.
3) Protect Those Eyes–Many older individuals already suffer from vision problems. Exposure to bright sunlight can be harmful and worsen existing symptoms. Find a good-fitting pair of UV blocking sunglasses (preferably polarized) to help protect eyesight.
4) Avoid Sandals–Falls are one of the leading contributors to early death in individuals 65 and older. As tempting as sandals are in hot weather, elderly individuals should always wear well-fitting shoes for safety and support.
5) Beware of Pests–Seniors are at greater risk of contracting diseases carried by mosquitoes and other biting insects. Apply bug repellent when outside the home and use screens on windows to keep insects out (especially at night).
6) Mind the Meds–The effectiveness of some medications can decrease when the thermometer rises. Keep prescriptions in cool places (78 degrees or less) and away from direct sunlight. Speak with your doctor before placing any medications in refrigerators as cold can have a similar effect.
7) Clean Those Air Conditioners–Air conditioners are a great way to stay cool in the summer but condensation can create mold and trap allergens like pollen. These pollutants can make breathing difficult. Clean air conditioners and swap air filters regularly.
8) Know the Symptoms of Heat Stroke–Heat stroke is an advanced form of hyperthermia (high blood temperature). Most seniors suffering heat stroke will experience some (but not necessarily all) of these symptoms:
Body temp above 104 degrees
Confusion or disorientation
Fainting or lightheadedness
9) Cool Down Quickly–If you or a loved one finds themselves overheated, cool down quickly. A cool (not cold) shower or bath can help. As can cool cloths applied to the neck and wrists (pulse points where blood flow is close to the skin’s surface).
10) Stay In Touch–Excessive heat can place a great burden on aging bodies. It’s important for loved ones to stay in touch with elderly individuals (or vice versa) on a daily basis. If an issue arises—don’t hesitate! Minutes count in a health crisis. Call for medical assistance immediately.
Enjoy Summer Safely
With a little preparedness the hot summer months aren’t such a scary prospect. But if you find yourself in need of a helping hand, Second Family Home Care offers at home care in north Texas for individuals and families. We can assist seniors with meal prep, light housekeeping, errands, etc. so they can stay cool. (We can also give family caregivers a break so they can enjoy a little summer as well.) We are located in Plano, but cover a large area of the DFW metroplex.