‘Tis the season for dehydration, heat stroke and heat exhaustion. And while much of the country has air conditioning these days, many places do not. It’s especially important to keep an eye on the seniors in your life, as they are more vulnerable to extreme temperatures. Older adults have a higher tendency to be dehydrated, their bodies take longer to adjust to changes in the temperature, and they may be on prescriptions that also prevent their bodies from regulating properly. Here are some tips to keep the vulnerable seniors in your life a little more comfortable.
Stay Hydrated and Eat Cold Foods
Drink water, and make sure caffeine and alcohol consumption are limited. Also now is not the time for hot soups and heavy meats. Enjoy things such as a light sandwich, popsicles, or chilled fruit.
Dress for the Weather
Make sure your elderly loved ones dress appropriately for summer sunshine. Choose lightweight, loose fitting, and light colors. My grandma also used to wear the most adorable wide-brimmed straw hat that she swore by.
Washcloth on Neck / Feet in Water
One of the most inexpensive ways to cool down is a cold compress. Grab a washcloth or small towel, dip into cold water, wring it out, and place it on the back of the neck. It’s amazing the amount of relief it provides. Dipping feet into a cool basin of water is also another cheap option.
“It’s especially important to keep an eye on the seniors in your life, as they are more vulnerable to extreme temperatures.”
Stay out of the Sun / Draw the Curtains
Make sure when the sun is intense that seniors are indoors and relaxing. When the air is cooler, open windows and have fans pull cold air in and hot air out. When the air heats up, close all the windows, draw the shades and curtains, and have fans circulate the air in the house.
Go to the Air Conditioning
During the heat of the day, go seek out some air conditioning. Head to the library, the mall, or a coffee shop. Many communities have cooling centers, often at local schools. My family used to go see a movie on particularly not afternoons, it’s always cold in movie theaters!
Know the Signs
Keep an eye on your elderly loved ones, including neighbors and friends. Know the signs that something is wrong and know what to do. If someone is simply dehydrated, encourage them to drink water. For heat exhaustion they need to hydrate and cool down quickly. If someone is exhibiting signs of heat exhaustion you need to call 911 immediately and do not give them fluids. Here are the signs:
- Dehydration – headache, dizzy, dry mouth, tired, less than normal urine
- Heat Exhaustion – headache, dizzy, sweaty, cold/pale/clammy skin, nausea, fast/weak pulse, weakness, muscle cramps, excessive thirst
- Heat Stroke – headache, confusion, loss of consciousness, no sweat/dry skin, hot/red skin, nausea, rapid heart rate, high body temperature
If the heat is no longer tolerable, then look into purchasing some air conditioning. And while you’re at it, start thinking about long-term care planning. If you haven’t created a plan for yourself, we can help. Contact LTC Consumer for more information about insurance and coverage options available. Whether you’re interested in receiving care at home or in a facility, Long-Term Care insurance has you covered.
Contact us today for a free quote from top LTC carriers and no-obligation long-term care planning services.