With many months of warm weather ahead, it’s a good idea for family caregivers to remind themselves about what it takes to keep elderly loved ones healthy and safe. There are certain health risks that are associated with warmer weather and aging adults. While these tips are good advice for people of any age, they are particularly relevant to the needs of seniors.
Age can bring about changes to a person’s body, making it harder for them to deal with heat. For example, elderly adults often have poor circulation and sluggish sweat glands, making it more difficult for them to cool down. Some medications may affect body temperature and seniors may not be able to tell that they are starting to overheat. It doesn’t take much for an elderly person to suffer in warmer weather, so family members need to think about it more often.
Here are some warm weather tips to consider when spending time in the sun with your elderly loved one:
An elderly person is more likely to become dehydrated because they don’t usually drink as much due to reduced appetite, fear of incontinence, and a diminished ability to feel thirsty. Family caregivers and elderly care assistants should make sure the senior drinks plenty of water and avoids excessive alcohol and caffeine.
Dress for the Weather
When seniors wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothing, they are better able to regulate their body temperature. Natural fibers like cotton are a good choice, and lighter colors reflect the sunlight. Lightweight long sleeves and pants are ideal for elderly adults who will be spending time in warmer weather.
An aging person’s skin is much thinner and less supple than when they were younger. This means they sunburn more easily and when they do it is often more serious than anticipated. Using a powerful sunscreen can block harmful rays from damaging an elderly person’s skin.
Watch for Heat Stroke
Heat stroke is a dangerous condition where an elderly person’s body is overheated and cannot cool itself down. Family caregivers and elderly care assistants must know the warning signs of heat stroke, including dizziness, dry skin, rapid pulse, nausea, high body temperature and unconsciousness. It’s urgent that the elderly person get immediate medical help, as heat strokes can become deadly.
Elderly adults should take every opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors during warmer weather. Taking a walk, spending time in the garden, reading on a sunny porch or visiting a park are all wonderful warm weather activities that keep seniors active. When they are prepared for warmer weather, there’s no stopping them. Family caregivers and elderly care assistants can make sure the elderly person still enjoys warm days while staying healthy and safe.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elderly care in Ewing, NJ, please call the caring staff at Care Street Home Care. You can reach our Mercer/Burlington Division at (609) 496-5666.
Dr. Shelly, as he is fondly known, has served as an Alzheimer’s Support Group Facilitator in Mercer County and is a Certified Dementia Instructor. Knowledgeable, compassionate, and unusually devoted, his guidance is crucial in helping families understand their options and render decisions for their loved ones’ care plan. Dr. Shelly’s extensive experience, sincere and pleasant demeanor, and professional affiliations have made him a vital asset to Care Street.