Summer and warmer temps are finally upon us. Along with trips to the beach and BBQs comes the threat of dehydration and heat exhaustion. This is especially true for our seniors. With aging, our thirst perception decreases. This places seniors at an increased risk for dehydration and other heat-related illnesses.
Here are 5 tips for keeping seniors cool, hydrated and safe during the summer months.
- Use an air conditioner or a fan to keep the home cool and air circulating.
- Dress in light-colored, lightweight and loose fitting clothing that allows the body to release heat. Hats and sunglasses are also beneficial when spending time outside.
- Always wear sunscreen whenever outdoors, even if out for only a short period of time. Apply to exposed areas 30 minutes before stepping into the sun.
- Plan outdoor outings in the early part of the day, before the sun is at its strongest. Choose cool, shady areas whenever possible.
- LIQUIDS! Seniors need to drink plenty of liquids, water being best. If water is refused, try juices or sports drinks. Any fluids that are not caffeinated count. You can also be creative by offering snacks of water-rich foods like popsicles, watermelon or Jell-o.
Dehydration is a dangerous problem that can lead to hospitalization and become life-threatening to an elderly person. Some common symptoms of dehydration are confusion and drowsiness. Additionally, heat exhaustion can cause weakness, nausea, rapid pulse, heavy sweating or no sweating. If you suspect that your loved one may be experiencing these symptoms, contact a physician immediately.
By being aware of these signs and taking steps to keep your senior safe from the heat, you will be able to enjoy all the fun that summer has to offer!