Heat Safety for Seniors
Home Care in Plymouth MN
Summer is right around the corner. When Mother Nature sends the temperatures soaring family members should go on alert if they have a senior they’re caring for. That’s because seniors are particularly at-risk of suffering serious health complications from hot weather. Some of those complications can include sunburns, dehydration, heatstroke, and heat exhaustion.
The following are some things to watch for and precautions you can take for them this summer:
In the Home
Use air-conditioning whenever possible, especially in extreme heat. If the residence is not centrally air-conditioned, use window units in the living room and bedroom. If A/C is not possible at all, use fans and open windows on opposite ends of the home to get some cross-ventilation. If the heat is still too extreme in the home, encourage them to go to someplace with A/C, like a library or senior center.
With summer comes the possibility of severe weather. Since storms and extreme heat can knock out power, make a list of emergency phone numbers for your senior and have them keep it by the phone. The list should include numbers for utility companies (electricity, gas and water), as well as police, fire, and any home care providers they might have. And if you have a senior citizen who has a medical device operated by power, you may want to let the utility company know about this as soon as it’s installed in the senior’s home, but also advise the utility company of that fact in the event of an outage. Your loved one should also have a good flashlight nearby, perhaps a couple, and fresh batteries in case they lose power.
While at home and out and about, encourage them to drink plenty of water to keep hydrated. They can also use water-replacement products that have sodium and potassium in them. But remind them to stay away from caffeinated products and alcohol, which tend to cause dehydration.
Outside of the Home
They should wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing that will helps keep the body cooler by releasing the heat.
Seniors should wear sunblock on all exposed parts of the body, re-applying every two hours, unless sweating a lot of swimming, and then, more frequently. (Remind them to apply it at least 30 minutes before heading outdoors.) They should also wear a wide-brimmed hat, or at least a cap, and dark sunglasses.
They, you, or their home care provider should regularly check on the senior in extreme heat, especially if they have heart, circulatory or pulmonary ailments. Some medications used to treat those conditions can make a person more sensitive to heat stress, so staying in touch is a good idea.
Because of that, you should recognize the signs of heat exhaustion or heatstroke, and be prepared to act. Know that heat stress or exhaustion can turn into heatstroke, if not treated early enough. If in doubt whether your senior is suffering from either of these, call their physician.
If you or an aging loved one are considering home care in Plymouth, MN, and the surrounding areas, please contact the friendly staff at CareBuilders at Home Minnesota. Call today 612-260-2273.