Summer is drawing near, and with it, all the fun activities people of all ages enjoy like outdoor barbecues, gardening, picnics and long walks. But the looming heat waves threaten to endanger your outdoor activities and health. This is especially true for the elderly.
A study conducted at the Harvard School of Public Health found that even a seemingly insignificant increase in temperature of 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer can increase the risk of death for seniors suffering from chronic illnesses like congestive heart failure or other major senior health issues.
Between 1979 and 2014 the death rate attributed to heat exposure ranged from 0.5 to 1 deaths per million people. Since 1979 more than 9000 US citizens died as a result of exposure to heat, according to the CDC.
However, the increasing temperatures resulting from the recent climate changes paired with an increasing number of seniors over 65 and coupled with the persistent chronic conditions like diabetes spell a recipe for disaster. Medical experts expect to see an increase in the percentage of seniors who suffer fatal consequences due to rising heats.
That doesn’t mean you should not allow your senior loved ones to enjoy this wonderful season with their families and their grandchildren. It just means that you need to take some extra precautions in order to avoid any heat-related health issues, especially if your senior loved one has a history of chronic disease. Here are just some ways you can protect them.
Dehydration is one of the leading conditions seniors suffer from during summertime. We usually don’t consciously think about staying hydrated, we just have a drink when we feel the thirst. However, seniors don’t feel the thirst right away as younger people do. Therefore, medical experts advise seniors to consume plenty of liquids during summertime.
However, seniors should be mindful of what they drink as well. Too much water can lead to electrolyte imbalance, leading to an irritated bladder. Instead, seniors should consume sports drinks that help replenish the lost liquids and help keep the electrolyte levels in check.
Stay Away from Caffeine
While we’re on the subject of dehydration, one way to prevent it from happening is to limit daily your caffeine intake. This substance is a natural diuretic, meaning it depletes our bodies of the liquid. It also irritates the bladder and makes seniors’ trips to the restroom more frequent. Encourage seniors to skip their summer tea and coffee and replace them with water or a sweet drink.
Dress in Layers
Dressing in layers is important if seniors are going to be going back and forth from the air-conditioned home and the unforgiving heat outside. Dressing in layers will allow seniors to be comfortable in both situations. Experts also advise seniors should wear light clothes made out of natural fabrics so their skin can breathe.
Avoid the Sun
When the sun is too strong, seniors should stay at home in order to avoid serious conditions like sunburns, dehydration or heat stroke. If the sun is too strong, it’s better to stay at home, go to the movies, a local senior center or the mall. if seniors do spend their time in the sun, they should always apply sunscreen, wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
Avoid Cooked Meals
When the temperatures soar high during the summer, the last thing you want is to cook or eat a hot meal. The stove will only make your home hotter. Instead, experts suggest modifying your senior loved ones’ diet to include cold dishes, like salads, sandwiches and smoothies. These dishes will provide enough nourishment and keep your home cool.
Take Frequent Showers
A cool shower can help seniors bring down their body temperature in the summer. If your senior loved one is unable to shower frequently due to disability, you can soak a small towel in cool water and cool their neck or the top of their head to bring down their body temperature.
Beverly Hills Senior Care Assisted Living to the Rescue!
If you are looking for a reliable caregiver to help your senior loved one cope with the hot summer days, look no further than A Better Way in Home Care. Our referred caregivers have a lot of experience helping seniors stay healthy and safe during this turbulent period. If you are looking for a trustworthy caregiver in Beverly Hills, contact us at 323.518.2676.