What’s not to love about love the warmer, longer, leisurely days of summertime? With family get-togethers and festivities like graduations, weddings, holiday gatherings, and more, many seniors are more active through the summer season. And since it’s easy for older adults to rapidly become overheated, it’s critical to know how to recognize heat-related health issues, and to know what to do to protect against them. Hearts at Home, offers summer safety tips for seniors below:
Top Summer Health Concerns for Seniors
If any of these difficulties are suspected, it’s imperative to get medical help immediately.
Dehydration: For aging adults, feelings of thirst are diminished, making it more challenging to ensure they remain hydrated. Even if the older person says she’s not thirsty, it’s essential for her to take in at least 8 – 10 cups of fluid every day, and more when spending time outside. Plain water is best, but sports drinks that contain electrolytes are also beneficial during warmer weather. Symptoms that could signify dehydration include headache, weakness, dizziness, confusion, muscle cramps, and losing consciousness.
Heat stroke: Heat stroke is an extremely dangerous condition that can be life threatening. Indicators include heightened body temperature (103 degrees or more), a rapid pulse, red, hot, dry skin, headache, dizziness, vomiting or nausea, and loss of consciousness. Call 911 immediately if heat stroke indications are apparent, and get the individual to a cooler environment, placing cool, damp cloths on the ankles, wrists, neck and armpits to help lower body temperature, encouraging the person to sip some water or a sports drink if at all possible.
Heat exhaustion: A combination of overheating and dehydration, heat exhaustion can induce stroke if not treated immediately. It’s evidenced by either no sweating or heavy sweating, lethargy, cold/clammy skin, headache, dizziness, nausea/vomiting, and a quickened or faint pulse. Help the older adult move to a cooler location if heat exhaustion is suspected, and use the cooling procedures noted for heat stroke above until assistance arrives.
Helping Seniors Remain Safe
Prevention is the best solution for summer-related health problems. Try the following preventive steps to protect against complications and ensure that the older adult continues to be healthy and well this summer.
Try to avoid mid-day outside activities. It’s healthier to enjoy being outside in the summer in the early morning or later in the day, when the sun isn’t as intense. If taking part in an outdoor function during the day, it’s best for the older person to remain in the shade.
Plan indoor fun. There are plenty of fun activities older adults can enjoy in the comfort of an air-conditioned environment. Plan a shopping trip at the mall or a visit to a museum, take in a movie together, spend time at the local senior center or library.
Stay hydrated. Keep adequate bottled water on hand when venturing out with a senior, and avoid alcoholic and caffeinated drinks, which are dehydrating.
For more tips for helping seniors thoroughly enjoy the summer months, call on Hearts at Home. We’re always here to share helpful resources or to partner with you to ensure your senior loved one stays safe, healthy and happy, no matter the season. Contact us online or call us any time at 913-440-4209 to learn more about senior care in Shawnee and the surrounding areas.