This is an excerpt from Gillian Kruse article on www.care.com entitled “12 Summer Safety Tips for the Elderly”.
At Browning Geriatric Consulting we see firsthand how much fun the summertime can be for our clients. However, for Upstate Seniors proper precautions must take place to avoid safety related issues due to the intense heat and sun. Below you will find some great tips from author Gillian Kruse that provide suggestions for the elderly as well as their caregivers, to make sure they have a fun, safe summer.
1. Stay Hydrated
Seniors are more susceptible to dehydration than younger people because they lose their ability to conserve water as they age. They also can become less aware of their thirst and have difficulty adjusting to temperature changes. Remember to drink water often, and be sure to pack some for those long summer drives.
2. Talk to Your Doctor
Check with your medical team to make sure any medications you are on won’t be affected by higher temperatures — especially if you don’t have air conditioning in your home.
3. Keep Your Cool
Even small increases in temperature can shorten the life expectancy for seniors who are coping with chronic medical conditions.
4. Stay in Touch
High temperatures can be life-threatening, so communication plays an important role in ensuring the safety of the elderly. For seniors, you should let friends and family know if you’ll be spending an extended period of time outdoors, even if you’re only gardening.
5. Meet Your Neighbors
Get in touch with those who live in your neighborhood and learn a bit about them and their schedules.
6. Know Who to Call
Prepare a list of emergency phone numbers and place them in an easy to access area. This way, the right people can be called to help quickly preventing any further issues or preventing medical problems from getting worse.
Fill out this Senior Care Emergency Checklist.
7. Wear the Right Stuff
Everyone, including seniors, should dress for the weather. When it’s warm out, some people find natural fabrics (such as cotton) to be cooler than synthetic fibers.
8. Protect Your Eyes
Vision loss can be common among the elderly, and too much exposure to the sun can irritate eyes and cause further damage. Wearing sunglasses can protect your eyes from harmful UV rays and preserve your vision.
9. Know the Risks of Hyperthermia
During the summer, be particularly cautious about abnormally high body temperatures — a condition known as hyperthermia. Heat stroke is an advanced form of hyperthermia that can be life-threatening. Make sure to know the warning signs and get medical attention immediately if you or anyone you know is experiencing these symptoms:
Body temperature greater than 104 degrees
- A change in behavior, such as acting confused, agitated or grouchy
- Dry, flushed skin
- Nausea and vomiting
- Heavy breathing or a rapid pulse
- Not sweating, even if it’s hot out
10 . Use Sunscreen and Wear Hats
Everyone, young and old, should wear sunscreen when outdoors. The elderly especially need the extra sun protection to help keep them healthy. Caregivers, family and friends can help by gently reminding loved ones about applying sunscreen and helping to put it on when necessary. Hats are also a great idea, especially for those with light colored hair and those with only distant memories of a full head of hair.
11. Apply Bug Spray
The elderly is particularly prone to West Nile Virus and encephalitis. Use mosquito repellent to reduce the risk of infection.
12. Exercise Smart
If you enjoy outdoor activities such as walking or gardening, make sure to wear the proper clothing and protective gear. It is also important to keep track of time.
To read this article in it’s entirety, please click here.