4 minutes reading time (731 words)

How to Beat the Summer Heat for Older Adults

pexels-photo-459882

As summer rolls in, the number of older adults who suffer from heat stroke and dehydration increases. Those 75 and above, are the most susceptible to heat because it takes their bodies longer to cool down. Dehydration diminishes a person’s ability to regulate their body temperature, thus placing them at a higher risk of developing a heat illness. That’s because when we age, our bodies become less efficient at regulating temperature. Older adults don’t sweat as much as young people, which is one of the body’s most important heat-regulation mechanisms.

There are a variety of lifestyle and health factors that increase the risk of developing a heat-related illness among this population:

  • Dehydration
  • Chronic illnesses such as heart and kidney diseases; blood circulation conditions
  • Prescription medications that reduce sweating
  • Salt-restricted diets
  • Overdressing
  • Lack of airflow or access to air conditions

Help your older loved one beat the heat by taking the following steps.

Proper ventilation at home

Try to maintain a cool environment at home. Central air conditioning is the best option, but if that is not possible, a window air conditioning unit will also work.  Alternatively, fans can also provide relief. Make sure to position fans near windows while keeping all windows in the house open to allow continuous circulation of air.

Make use of air-conditioned public spaces

If air conditioning is not an option in the home, then take your loved one to public spaces with air conditioning. Some great options include a shopping mall, library, restaurant or even a local senior center.

Hydrate!

High temperatures in the summer make us sweat more, which can cause heatstroke. To avoid this affliction, keep your loved ones hydrated by encouraging them to drink water. Also, include foods in their diet that have a high water content such as cucumbers, melons, and berries.

While drinking eight glasses of water is a goal to strive for, also incorporate beverages that have electrolytes as those replace the minerals that a person loses while sweating.

Studies indicate that when you feel thirsty your ability to regulate heat begins to decline. For older adults, who already struggle to manage internal body heat, dehydration can block the body’s natural cooling process even more.

Older adults need to drink water and juices regularly. A good rule of thumb is to drink fluids at every meal, as well as sipping fluids throughout the day.  Avoid alcohol as well as caffeine including coffee, tea, and soda as they are a diuretic and can cause more dehydration.

Beat the heat by planning ahead

If outdoor activities are on the schedule be sure to time your outing for before noon or after 4 pm. The hottest portions of the day are typically between noon and 4 p.m. Instead, take a walk early in the day or late in the evening when temperatures and humidity are at their lowest points.

Change your wardrobe

Wear clothes that are loose fitting, containing natural fibers such as cotton and allow room for circulation. A light colored, long sleeved, loose-fitted shirt, paired with a wide-brimmed hat and a pair of sunglasses is the ideal summer fashion statement. This attire allows the heat from being trapped close to the body while keeping the sun off the skin.

Be aware of early warning signs

Check on your loved one at least twice a day. Early warning signs of heat exhaustion include excessive sweating, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache and muscle cramps. If untreated, heat exhaustion can progress within 10 – 15 minutes into heat stroke (a more serious condition). Heat stroke is caused when the internal body temperature rises faster than it’s able to lower naturally.  Symptoms of heat stroke include nausea, vomiting, fainting, headache, rapid heartbeat or excessive sweating. If symptoms of heat stroke are present, call 911.

To help those suffering from heat-related illness here what you can do immediately: First, have the person lie down in a cool place, and if you can put a fan directly on that person even better. Then take steps to lower body temperature. Air-conditioning, offer cool fluids, or providing access to a cool bath will also help.

Warm temperatures can be a welcome shift, especially when dealing with aches and pains, but older adults need to protect themselves against the dangerous effects of hot weather. When it comes to warm conditions, too much of a good thing can become a health hazard.

Top Tips for Finding the Right Caregiver
4 Simple Ways of Helping Someone Cope with Sundown...

Related Posts

 

Comments

No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Already Registered? Login Here
Guest
Thursday, 17 June 2021

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to https://www.corewoodcare.com/

02 November 2020
Corewood Care Blog
Across the country, federal and local law enforcement agencies are warning older adults about COVID-19 scams and requesting personal information or making false promises about COVID-19 cures and test kits. Corewood wants to make you aware of these co...
12 October 2020
Corewood Care Blog
2020 has brought us a wider variety of topics of conversation.  Case in point! While having a social distancing get together with 2 of my friends in a parking lot, one friend asked if we were up to date on our vaccines. She showed us that she go...
09 October 2020
Corewood Care Blog
Years ago, we were honored to help a woman decide a move from her home into a senior living community where her sister lived. The older sister was unrelenting in telling her younger sister to move to her community and as soon as possible. She told me...

Corewood Care
5272 River Road
Suite 700
Bethesda MD 20816

(301) 909-8117

Licensed by the MD Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene, Office of Healthcare Quality as a Residential Service Agency License # R2911.

Licensed by the DC Dept. of Health as a Home Support Agency, License # HSA-0002 and as a Nurse Staffing Agency, License # NSA-0468.

Licensed by the VA Dept. of Health as a Home Care Organization License # HCO-191890.


 

Copyright Corewood Care ©2020.  All rights reserved