Most people think that the most dangerous season is winter, due to cold temperatures, ice, and snow. But high summer temperatures can be equally as deadly. Family caregivers and elder care providers can do a lot to keep their aging relatives safe from scorching summer temperatures by implementing a few strategies and tips.
Elder Care Manhattan Beach CA – Keep Seniors Safe from High Summer Temperatures
How Heat Affects Seniors
When the body heats up, several things happen to attempt to regulate the internal temperature. Sweating is the most obvious sign, as the evaporation from the skin helps cool things down. Other methods include dilating blood vessels that send warm blood closer to the skin and slowing down metabolism. These are usually effective methods for cooling the body down in extreme temperatures.
With older adults, the body often doesn’t work as efficiently as it once did, and this can ultimately lead to heat stroke in the elderly. The sweat glands may not trigger properly and circulation issues can interfere with normal responses to heat. Other health issues can add complications in elderly adults, such as diabetes, dementia, obesity and more. Certain medications may also affect an elder’s body. Finally, elderly adults dehydrate more easily than younger adults, leaving them even more vulnerable to hot weather.
Keeping Seniors Cool in High Temperatures
Family caregivers and elder care providers need to take the lead in keeping their elderly loved ones cool during a hot summer. All too often, aging adults simply don’t realize when they are overheating and in danger. Keeping them in an air-conditioned room is one of the best ways to help their bodies regulate temperature. If the entire house isn’t air-conditioned, family caregivers should consider setting up a portable A/C unit to keep one or two rooms cool.
Another thing to think about during hot weather is how the elderly adult is dressed. Family caregivers and elder care providers should help the senior choose lightweight fabrics with a loose weave so that heat can escape the skin more effectively. Staying hydrated is very important for the elderly. Often, they don’t retain body fluids effectively or their medication acts as a diuretic and they become depleted quickly. With a water bottle at their side, seniors can sip liquids throughout the day, with family caregivers and elder care providers to remind them.
Recognizing Signs of Heat-Related Illnesses
Some of the most common symptoms of exhaustion and heat stroke in elderly individuals include hot and dry skin. Their sweat glands cease to work, so heat builds up in the skin. Other symptoms include confusion, dizziness, fatigue, or fainting. If family caregivers or elder care providers think that the aging adult is suffering from heat stroke, they should loosen restrictive clothing and pour cool water on their body. Re-hydration is important, too, if they can swallow. Of course, family caregivers should take their relative to the doctor as soon as possible.
While overly warm temperatures may not seem like a dangerous thing to the average adult, it’s important for family caregivers and elder care providers to keep their elderly loved ones in mind and remember the possible symptoms of heat and the elderly. Staying cool during hot days is really important for overall health and wellness in aging relatives.