We all love the long, leisurely days of summertime. With family celebrations and get-togethers such as weddings, summer cookouts, and graduations, many seniors have increased opportunities to remain active during the summer months. And since seniors can quickly become overheated, it’s crucial to be alert for signs of heat-related health concerns and to know how to prevent them. Morning Glory Home Care, providers of professional Shiloh home care services, shares details below to help keep your older loved ones safe and thriving this summer.
Leading Summer Health Concerns for Seniors
If any of the conditions below are suspected, it’s vitally important that you seek medical help immediately.
Dehydration: For older individuals, feelings of thirst are reduced, making it challenging to ensure they remain hydrated. Even if a senior says he isn’t thirsty, it’s important for him to drink at least 8 – 10 cups of liquid per day, and even more if spending time outdoors. Plain water is preferred, but sports drinks with electrolytes are also good for seniors during hot weather. Warning signs that may point to potential dehydration include headache, weakness, dizziness, confusion, muscle cramps, and loss of consciousness.
Heat stroke: Heat stroke is a particularly serious condition that can even be deadly. Red flags of heat stroke include raised body temperature (103 degrees or higher), a faster pulse, red, hot, dry skin, headache, dizziness, vomiting or nausea, and losing consciousness. Dial 911 immediately if heat stroke signs are noticed, and get the older person into cooler surroundings, placing cool, damp cloths on the ankles, wrists, neck and armpits to help lower the senior’s body temperature, urging the person to sip some water or a sports drink if possible.
Heat exhaustion: A combination of overheating and dehydration, heat exhaustion can result in stroke if not treated immediately. Its signs can include either no sweating or heavy sweating, lethargy, cold/clammy skin, headache, dizziness, nausea/vomiting, and a quickened or faint pulse. Help the older adult move to a cooler environment if heat exhaustion is suspected, call 911 for assistance, and use the same cooling methods listed above for heat stroke until help arrives.
Helping Seniors Stay Safe
Prevention is the best solution for summer-related health concerns for seniors. Try these preventative steps to avoid concerns and to keep the senior healthy and safe this summer.
Avoid mid-day outdoor activities. It’s much safer to spend time outdoors in the summer in the early morning or later in the day, when the sun isn’t as powerful. If attending an outdoor event during the day, it’s preferred that older adults remain in the shade.
Plan indoor outings. There are tons of fun activities seniors can enjoy in the comfort of an air-conditioned setting. Plan a trip to the shopping mall or a visit to a museum, take in a movie or play together, spend time at the local senior center or library.
Stay hydrated. Make sure you have plenty of bottled water on hand when venturing out with a senior, and stay away from alcoholic and caffeinated beverages, which are dehydrating.
For more tips for helping seniors fully enjoy the summer months, call on Morning Glory Home Care. Providing the highest quality Shiloh home care services, we’re always available to share resources or to partner with you to ensure your senior loved one stays safe, healthy and happy, no matter the season. Contact us any time at 618-667-8400.