Did you know that heat affects us differently as we age? Since we are already well into May, you know that the hot Iowa summer is fast approaching, and your elderly parents will be out in the garden, caring for the lawn or attending the many outdoor summer gatherings. In order to help you keep your elderly family members safe this summer, we have seven tips that you can keep in mind:
- Signs of Hyperthermia/Heat Stroke
- Heat-friendly Clothing
- Hyper Hydration
- Finding a Cool Place
- Sunscreen/Bug Spray
- Keeping in Touch
- Meds and Temperatures
If you fear your loved one may have had too much sun, watch for these warning signs of hyperthermia or heat stroke – high body temperature, confusion or agitation, flushed skin, nausea, headache, heavy breathing, not sweating when he/she should be or fainting.
One of the most missed elderly heat injury prevention tricks is to check your elderly loved one’s summer wardrobe. Check their closet for cool, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing options that are made of cotton and not of synthetic fibers.
Another important prevention trick that is widely known, but often forgotten is staying hydrated. For the elderly, hydration may be more of a challenge because we lose our ability to hold water and our ability to recognize that we’re thirsty as we age.
If your elderly loved one lives in a home without air conditioning, it’s important that you encourage them to get out of the house to spend time at a business with air conditioning. This is possible by taking trips to the mall, movie theater, library, grocery story or other favorite cool destination.
Don’t forget to protect their skin with sunscreen and even bug spray in areas that it is needed. Remember that the elderly are more severely affected by west nile virus or encephalitis so keep their exposure risk low by using repellent.
When temperatures are high, try to check in on your elderly loved one more often than usual, especially if they often garden or enjoy other outdoor activities. Another great idea is to involve the neighbors in your plan to keep your loved one safe. Ask neighbors to check in when possible.
Finally, familiarize yourself with your loved one’s medications and the possible effects of heat on these meds. Some medications actually lose some effectiveness when kept in temperatures above 78 degrees.
The team at CarePro Health Services cares deeply about you and your family’s health and wellness. If you’re concerned about the effects of heat on your family, please reach out to us today!