Summer is a time for relaxing and enjoying the warm weather after a long winter. But every season brings both benefits and hazards to avoid. It is important to take some health precautions in the heat. There are steps that seniors can take to maintain their health. These recommendations also apply to all of your loved ones, including your pets.
During the hot summer months, it is important for seniors to stay hydrated. Many hospital admissions for seniors often involve dehydration. Remember to drink sufficient fluids throughout the day. Symptoms of dehydration to be aware of include dizziness, fainting, and overall weakness. Remember that some seniors aren’t always aware of being thirsty or may not drink sufficient quantities of fluid because of medication that may act as diuretics or from fear of having accidents.
Individuals suffering from dementia need to be protected from the sun by their caretakers. Loss of cognition and an inability to communicate needs make it extremely important for caretakers to monitor hydration needs for these seniors. Keep in mind that children and pets are also vulnerable to dehydration and need their fluid intake monitored as well.
Remember it is important to take a break from the heat and spend time in a cooler environment. That does not mean avoiding the sun but finding environments where air-conditioning or shade is available. When spending time away from home or if a senior does not have or use air-conditioning, look for places to take a break from the heat. Often restaurants, libraries and malls can be good places to escape the warm weather.
The sun can be extra harsh on sensitive skin and cause sunburn, which needs to be avoided. Using sunscreen is important for seniors. Reapplication is also very important and should be monitored by a caregiver. It is also important to sometimes avoid the heat, especially when taking medications that require avoidance of the sun. Some helpful suggestions include:
Family and friends should stay in contact with seniors during heat waves to make sure that they are eating and drinking sufficient fluids. A phone call, text, email, and regular visits are some of the ways to stay in touch. It may be necessary to call their physicians or in extreme cases of dehydration to contact 911. Seniors may need to be reminded to push the notification on their health monitoring system if they are not feeling well in order to receive help quickly.
The summer can be a time for seniors to enjoy the change of season and welcome the end of cold days. These simple but important recommendations can make this a healthy, fun summer for seniors and their loved ones.