Who doesn’t love the warmer, longer, leisurely days of summer? With family get-togethers and celebrations such as graduations, weddings, holiday parties, and more, many older adults are more active during the summer months. And because it’s easy for seniors to quickly become overheated, it’s important to know how to recognize heat-related health concerns, and to know what to do to prevent them.
Absolute Companion Care shares details below to help keep your senior loved ones safe this summer.
Top Summer Health Concerns for Seniors
If any of these conditions are suspected, it’s crucial to get medical help immediately.
Dehydration: For older adults, feelings of thirst are diminished, making it more challenging to ensure they stay hydrated. Even if a senior says she isn’t thirsty, it’s important for her to drink at least 8 – 10 cups of fluid per day, and more when spending time outside. Plain water is best, but sports drinks that contain electrolytes are also beneficial during warmer weather. Red flags that could indicate dehydration include headache, weakness, dizziness, confusion, muscle cramps, and losing consciousness.
Heat stroke: Heat stroke is an extremely serious condition that can be deadly. Warning signs include elevated body temperature (103 degrees or higher), a quickened pulse, red, hot, dry skin, headache, dizziness, vomiting or nausea, and loss of consciousness. Call 911 immediately if heat stroke symptoms are evident, and get the senior to a cooler environment, placing cool, damp cloths on the ankles, wrists, neck and armpits to help lower his or her temperature, encouraging the person to sip some water or a sports drink if possible.
Heat exhaustion: A combination of dehydration and overheating, heat exhaustion can lead to stroke if not treated immediately. It’s evidenced by either no sweating or heavy sweating, lethargy, cold/clammy skin, headache, dizziness, nausea/vomiting, and a quickened or faint pulse. Help the senior move to a cooler location if heat exhaustion is suspected, and use the cooling methods noted for heat stroke above until help arrives.
Helping Seniors Stay Safe
Prevention is the best remedy for summer-related health concerns. Try these preventative measures to avoid complications and ensure the senior remains healthy and well this summer.
Avoid mid-day outdoor activities. It’s safer to enjoy being outside in the summer in the early morning or later in the day, when the sun isn’t as strong. If attending an outdoor event during the day, it’s best for the senior to stay in the shade.
Plan indoor outings. There are plenty of fun activities seniors can enjoy in the comfort of an air-conditioned environment. Plan a shopping trip at the mall or a visit to a museum, take in a movie together, spend time at the local senior center or library.
Stay hydrated. Keep plenty of bottled water on hand when venturing out with a senior, and avoid alcoholic and caffeinated beverages, which are dehydrating.
For more suggestions for helping seniors fully enjoy the summer months, call on Absolute Companion Care. 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 410-357-9640 to learn more about how we can help with a professional caregiver in Phoenix, MD and the surrounding areas.