Now that we’re deep into the dog days of summer, the longer periods of sunlight, higher humidity and higher temperatures can quickly take a toll on the health of older adults. Since hundreds of Americans die each summer from heat-related complications, and the majority of those are seniors, it’s crucial to take steps to ensure your older loved ones remain safe. Our Overland Park home care experts can help! Keep these summer safety tips in mind, particularly when the outside temperature rises to 90 degrees or higher:
- Avoid sunlight during peak periods of heat. Limit outdoor time to early mornings or evenings, or if the senior must be outside in the afternoon, ensure he or she is protected by shade. Staying in an air conditioned environment is preferable. If air conditioning is not available in the home, find public options such as the library or mall to spend time in extreme heat.
- Dress accordingly. Loose-fitting, light colored clothes are best when it’s hot, and a wide-brimmed hat is perfect when out in the sun. And, don’t forget the sunscreen.
- Drink plenty of fluids, especially water. Nothing is better for hydration than plain water, but clear juices are also beneficial. Just be sure the senior avoids caffeinated or alcoholic beverages, which have the reverse effect.
- Reduce bath and shower water temperature. A moderate temperature for showers and baths (neither too hot nor too cold) is recommended in hot weather. Placing cool, damp washcloths on the neck, ankles, wrists and armpits can also help with cooling.
It’s important to keep a close eye on senior loved ones during the hot months of summer, as serious heat-related conditions, such as dehydration, heat syncope, heat exhaustion and heat stroke, can quickly manifest, requiring medical attention. If you notice the senior is experiencing weakness, headaches or muscle cramps, dizziness, confusion, nausea, or fever, call 911 or his or her physician immediately for guidance.
Hearts at Home In-Home Care’s professional home health care in Kansas City provides families with peace of mind in knowing their senior loved ones are safe, healthy and thriving at all times. We can help ensure that older adults are drinking plenty of fluids, that the home environment is cool and comfortable, that healthy meals are prepared, and we can even take care of light housekeeping and laundry duties, run errands, and provide transportation to medical appointments or fun outings. Whatever the need, Hearts at Home is on hand to help! Just take a look at what our happy clients have to say about us.