Tips for Keeping Seniors Safe as Summer Temperatures Soar

Posted by AlzCottages on August 23rd, 2017

When summertime temperatures begin to soar, anyone can find themselves at risk for dehydration, heat stroke and other concerns. Seniors, however, tend to be especially vulnerable to the potentially dangerous effects heat may have on the body.Caregivers will find there are simple steps they can take to protect their loved ones from harm even when the feels-like temperatures spike into triple digits.

There are a number of factors that make the senior population especially vulnerable to heat-related health concerns. Medical experts attribute increased vulnerability to such things as certain health conditions, medication use and even lifestyle choices or habits. When a senior suffers from heart disease, for example, the body may not be able to properly dissipate heat.Medications like diuretics may cause water loss and compound the dehydrating effects heat has on the body. It is also not uncommon for seniors to have developed habits that can prove dangerous if the temperature soars. Turning off air conditioning in the middle of the day to save electric costs, for example, may lead to potentially hazardous elevations in body temperature. People living with dementia may even find themselves at higher risk for dehydration because they either forget to properly hydrate or think they already have.

Fortunately, there are measures caregivers can take to help protect their elderly loved ones from heat-related dangers. Even when seniors stay inside all or most of the time, climbing outside temperatures can pose problems. Here are a few tips that can help keep the indoor environment safer:

  • Take steps to keep the heat out – Blocking windows with heavy shades or drapes or using awnings can help keep the sun and its associated heat out of a house or a particular room.
  • Use fans to their greatest advantage – Portable fans can help improve air flow while serving to keep people cooler. Consider placing fans in rooms that are commonly used by an elderly loved one, such as the bedroom, family room and perhaps kitchen.
  • Don’t be afraid to use the air conditioner – Discourage elderly loved ones from turning off the air conditioning in the warmest parts of the day. Even if electric bills rise a little, the cost will pale in comparison to medical expenses involved with treating dehydration or heat stroke.
  • Promote proper hydration and nutrition – It is important to eat healthy, but light during hot weather and to make sure lots of fluids are consumed. Discourage seniors from drinking alcohol or caffeinated drinks as they can compound dehydration-related concerns.
  • Use water – Portable misters are refreshing, but they also help cool the body. Cold washcloths and ice can also be helpful to use if a senior appears overheated or simply needs to cool down a little for the sake of comfort.

Helping seniors beat the heat often only requires a smart strategy for keeping indoor spaces comfortable. A few simple measures can make a big difference in safeguarding health. Should the signs of heat stroke be evident, calling 911 immediately is advised. Symptoms to look for include nausea, dizziness, rapid heartbeat, shallow breathing and hot skin. Muscle weakness and cramping may also serve as signs.

Heat stroke prevention is a concern The Cottages and its staff members take very seriously. In addition to hydration stations located within each facility, there are dedicated times set aside each day specifically to ensure residents are properly hydrated.

About Author
The Cottages have been operating in Texas since 1997 and are family owned and operated by The Cottages Senior Living. The Cottages are state-of-the-art certified assisted living residences for people living with Alzheimer’s and other memory disorders.


About the Author

Joined: December 24th, 2015
Articles Posted: 14

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