In the heat of summer, it’s always important to remember to help our seniors stay cool in the warm weather. If your Mom or Dad enjoys being outdoors in the fresh air, it’s a big plus – we simply need to be mindful about the effect of temperature on someone older than we are. Just as in the winter we think about keeping warm, staying cool and hydrated during the summer months is equally essential. Don’t use your own heat tolerance as a barometer for your loved one. Your younger body experiences temperature differently than an older person. Some things to consider:
1. Certain medications can cause increased sensitivity to heat and sun. Know the signs of possible distress (see below) and if necessary, consult with the physician who prescribes medication and cares for your loved one.
2. Senior water aerobics is a great way to get some exercise and stay cool. Always consult the physician before starting a new exercise; if water exercise is already part of someone’s routine, all the better!
3. Being out in nature is known to be a wonderful mood elevator!
4. Dressing appropriately is important. Just as wearing layers is a great strategy in the colder months, it works in higher temps as well. If communication is an issue, be aware of non-verbal signs of discomfort. Some examples are perspiration, shortness of breath, disorientation or increased confusion and/or a flushed face.
5. We all need to drink a lot of water, but it is particularly important for our elders, even more so in summer when perspiration is likely. A tip to encourage someone to drink more water is to add some flavor to the pitcher. Fresh seasonal fruits or mint might keep them reaching for another glass. In the heat of summer
6. Recognize signs of distress. Summer heat can bring on serious conditions such as heat exhaustion, shortness of breath, heat stroke. It is important to know what to look for!
- Dry skin - no sweat
- Nausea or vomiting
- Trouble breathing
If you notice any of these symptoms it can be serious and may require medical attention.
Senior Care Authority provides hands-on assistance, support and resources for families seeking the best residential options for seniors, ensuring that they receive the necessary care. Our company has a network of professionals throughout the country who provide elder care consulting and placement assistance.
Written by Marcy Baskin,
an Elder Care Manager, Family Coach, and
Managing Director of Senior Care Authority.
She is also the author of
Assisted Living, Questions I Wish I Had Asked.