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7 Summer Heat Tips for the Elderly

Posted on: May 23rd, 2016 by Bellin Health Home Care Equipment Blogger

bellin-blog-summer-heat-tips-for-the-elderly

It’s May and we are quickly approaching the hot summer months in Wisconsin, which means it’s time to get the dangers of high temperatures out to those of you managing care for an elderly loved one.  When it comes to the older population, we need to be especially aware of high temperatures because heat affects the elderly differently.  At Bellin Health Home Care Equipment, we want you to be aware of all the most important elderly heat tips that will keep you and your aging loved one safe and healthy.

  1. Hydration – Yes, we know that we need to keep ourselves hydrated. However, as we age, we lose the ability to both hold water and notice that we are in need of hydration.  If you are caring for an aging loved one, keep them drinking water throughout the day and consider finding a sweat replacement product that contains salt and potassium if your loved one will be spending much time in the summer heat.
  2. Sun and Medication – High temperatures also affects the effectiveness of certain medications. Many meds are less effective in temperatures above 78 degrees, which you know is a high possibility during our Wisconsin summers.
  3. Keep Cool – If you are caring for an elderly loved one that does not live with you, make sure you are aware of their air conditioning situation at home. For homes with no air conditioning, suggest that you and your loved one visit the mall, movie theatre, library or grocery store regularly to get in the air conditioning and even get some much needed exercise.
  4. Stay Connected – Another tip for those of you caring for a loved one who does not live with you, keep in touch and increase your frequency that you check on your loved one, especially if he/she enjoys gardening and other lengthy activities outdoors. You can also ask a neighbor to regularly check on your loved one on those hot days to make sure they are not showing early signs of heat stroke.
  5. Dress for Heat – A tip that many caregivers miss out on is checking your loved one’s wardrobe. Do they have plenty of cool, light-colored, loose fitting clothing options for the summer?  Cotton is a much better fabric than synthetic fibers in the heat.  Also, check that they have proper eyewear to protect against the sun as well as hats to block even more sun exposure.
  6. Lotions & Sprays – Don’t forget to gently remind your loved one to apply sunscreen and use bug spray if needed. The elderly are at a higher risk for west nile virus and encephalitis so encourage them to use repellent to help reduce the risk.
  7. Warning Signs – Finally, know your hyperthermia and heat stroke warning signs:
    1. High body temperature
    2. Acting confused or agitated
    3. Flushed skin
    4. Nausea
    5. Headache
    6. Heavy breathing
    7. Not sweating
    8. Fainting

At Bellin Health Home Care Equipment, we care about your total health and the health of your loved ones.  If you need home care equipment to help keep your loved one safe and mobile at home, don’t hesitate to reach out to us!

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