As we get older, summer’s heat and sun can make life difficult. While summer weather can pose health risks for everyone, senior citizens and their caregivers need to take extra precautions.
Here are a few summer safety tips for seniors to consider during the hot weather months:
As we age, we lose our ability to conserve water. Be sure to drink at least eight 8-ounce classes of water and/or fruit juice each day. And avoid caffeine and alcohol. Coffee, tea, soda and alcoholic drinks can leave you dehydrated quickly.
Dress for the season:
When summer comes, wear loose-fitting close made from natural fabrics such as cotton. These clothes should be light-colored in order to reflect the sun and heat. Save your darker clothes – which attract heat – for fall and winter.
Block the sun:
Protect yourself from the sun’s rays when you go outside. Wear hats, sunglasses and a sunscreen of SPF 30 or greater.
During times of extreme heat and/or high humidity, your body needs to work extra hard to regulate its temperature. So stay indoors where it’s air conditioned. If your home doesn’t have air conditioning, go someplace that does: the home of a friend or relative, a mall, a movie theater, a senior center. If you need to get out and don’t drive, call for a ride. Never wait outside for a bus in extreme heat.
Be careful outdoors:
If you are going outside – whether it’s to garden or exercise – take precautions. Wear the right clothing, and keep track of time. Make sure you drink more water than usual, and consider altering your schedule by going out early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid the sun.
Take a cool bath or shower:
If it’s a very hot day but you absolutely can’t leave the house and don’t have air conditioning, take a cool shower or a bath to lower your body temperature. Your home should stay cool. The temperature inside should never exceed 85 degrees F for an extended period.
Know the signs of heat stroke:
Take immediate action if you feel the signs of heat stroke coming on. These symptoms include a flushed face, high body temperature, nausea, headache, confusion and dizziness.
Talk to your doctor to make sure any medications you take aren’t affected by high temperatures. Let friends and family know if you’ll be outside for a long time, and see if someone – a family member, friend, neighbor – can check on you during heat waves. Make sure you have a list of emergency numbers at hand.
We hope you and your loved ones have a safe, fun summer. And if you need advice on caring for the senior citizens in your life, contact Newman Elder Law.