Stay comfortable and safe this summer
With the temperature rising and family caregivers gearing up for their annual vacations, summer can be a stressful time for seniors. Aging puts us more at risk for heat exhaustion since we lose our ability to sense pain and/or react appropriately to increases in temperature. As a result, seniors may overdress in hot weather or not seek medical assistance as needed – particularly if they are isolated. Certain medications, especially diuretics, may also increase their risk during hot weather.
Follow the tips below to stay cool, comfortable and safe:
- Drink plenty of water and natural juices.
- Avoid going outside during peak sun hours.
- If you do go out, wear loose fitting, light clothing, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, and stay in the shade.
- Don’t skip meals. Have ready-made or easy to prepare foods handy for hot days.
- Without air conditioning?
- Cool down by holding a wet towel on your neck or forehead, behind the knees and on your wrists.
- Better yet, head to the air-conditioned mall, library or a friend’s place to seek some relief.
- Avoid intense or moderately intense physical activity.
- If you feel ill, faint, have difficulty breathing or feel confused and disoriented, seek medical attention quickly.
- If you enjoy being outdoors, be sure to wear bug spray. Seniors can be prone to West Nile Virus and encephalitis.
If you do not feel well, be sure to get help quickly. Symptoms of many heat related illnesses can include weakness, headaches, dizziness, confusion, nausea or vomiting, muscle cramps, and feeling faint.
And finally, if you have senior neighbours, be sure to check in on them regularly during any heat waves to make sure they are managing with the extreme temperatures and or humidity. Look for any changes in their daily routines. With family members away on trips, their loved ones may not be calling or visiting as much as they normally would. Plus, an added benefit is that you may develop a new friendship or learn more about your community in speaking with them!