As people age, it becomes more difficult for their bodies to deal with high temperatures and high humidity during the summer. For those who have chronic diseases, it is even more difficult to handle heat. Also, those with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease may not be aware that they are too hot or be able to communicate it to their caregivers. For all these reasons, it is important for caregivers to watch out for any signs of overheating or dehydration in seniors and react right away. It is also very important for seniors to try and stay cool in very hot weather.
7 Hot Weather Tips for Seniors
As the temperature rises, it’s important to know exactly what you can do to stay cool and hydrated. Especially if you’re a senior who may be at a greater risk of suffering heat stroke or some other debilitating condition when the temperatures go up, you want to be sure that you know what the best course of action is. And thankfully, there are several ways to stay comfortable during hot weather, so here are some tips for seniors on what they can do to stay cool during very hot weather.
1. Drinking lots of water and other liquids:
Seniors are always at a risk of dehydration, so it is extremely important for them to stay hydrated during hot weather. It can be very dangerous for their health to become dehydrated. They should always drink water, juice, and other drinks to stay hydrated, however they should avoid intake caffeine and alcohol.
2. Avoiding direct sunlight:
Seniors should try to stay out of direct sunlight. This includes doing activities such as exercising or gardening. They should only go out and do activities in the morning before it gets too hot or later in the evening when the sun sets.
3. Dressing for the weather:
Seniors should try to dress for the weather by wearing light-colored clothes that are loose fitting. Light colors allow your body to cool down faster than dark ones do, and loose-fitting clothing helps air flow around your body more efficiently.
4. Wearing sunscreen:
When outside during hot days, they should wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen.
5. Cooling down:
Seniors who are feeling hot and bothered can cool themselves down by taking a moderately cold shower or bath. This will help to lower their core body temperature, which is often higher in seniors due to age-related changes in the body’s thermoregulatory system.
6. Going somewhere where it’s cool:
If a senior does not have their own air conditioning, especially on hot days, they should go to a library, mall, or a movie theater to cool themselves down. If they need help with paying their air conditioning, they can reach out to a local senior center that can help them find the right program to help them pay for it.
7. Doing wellness checks:
Caregivers, friends, and loved ones should check on their elderly friends and neighbors during the summer months. If they do not have their own air conditioning or transportation to get to a cooler place, you should take them to a public place that has air conditioning.
Signs to look out for if you think a senior is having trouble with high heat
There are signs that caregivers should look out for in seniors, so that they know if they are having trouble with high heat. If a senior is experiencing dizziness, confusion, or nausea, they may be experiencing a condition related to overheating from the hot weather. It is important to take them to the emergency room to ensure that they get proper treatment. As mentioned earlier, seniors are at a higher risk of getting ill during very hot days. Here are a few reasons why some seniors may be more at risk than others for heat related conditions:
- Poor blood circulation
- Chronic diseases such as kidney or lung diseases that may cause a fever or weakness
- High blood pressure
- Inability to sweat due to medications
- Being overweight or underweight
- Drinking alcohol
Conditions Related to Heat
The follow are common conditions related to hot weather that affect seniors the most. It is important to recognize the signs of these conditions and react appropriately to make sure they do not cause a more serious condition or death.
This is a condition that causes you to lose water in your body. The symptoms of this condition include weakness, muscle cramps, dizziness, confusion, and sometimes even fainting. A person affected by this condition should drink a lot of water and if they do not feel better, make sure to go in to see a doctor, especially if they have any chronic health conditions.
This condition causes a person to have a raised body temperature, which may happen over the course of a few days in the elderly. This condition can result in death if not treated. The symptoms include a fever, hot and red skin, headache, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. In a case of a heat stroke, emergency services should be called right away. You should always try to cool off the person with cool water to try to lower their fever and see if they can swallow water until emergency services arrive.
This condition is caused by exposure to too much heat and dehydration and can lead to heat stroke. The symptoms include heavy sweating or no sweating, muscle cramps, weakness, dizziness, fever etc. If you suspect this condition, the affected person should be moved to a cool place and be given cold liquids to drink. If they have a pre-existing condition, emergency services should be called if they do not feel better.
This condition causes a person to faint due to high heat. They may experience dizziness or fainting. The affected person should lie down and put their feet up and drink cold drinks.
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