We’re in the throws of summer, it’s what we wish for all year long…warm summer days filled with sunshine and a little bit more freedom and care-free living. Family gatherings, day trips, sight-seeing…all of the summer activities that we look forward to all year long!
These are also the days that we can easily regret wishing for because the sunshine we so love can make for some oppressively hot situations that can seem unending and debilitating, especially for older adults. Managing the heat and preparing your body for its response to the heat is important in order to stay safe and comfortable. Proper planning and preparation can prevent health hiccups or worse, disasters.
If temperatures exceed 90 degrees, take care that the aging adults in your life take these precautions:
Limit Sunshine: If possible, stay out of direct sunlight. The sun can be deceiving; it only takes a few moments for its negative effects to take hold of your body. One might need to adjust when they typically go outside; waiting until sunset or early morning hours could mean a difference of several degrees. Tasks like watering the flowers, retrieving mail, taking out the trash, etc. might need to be intentionally adjusted to avoid mid-day raging rays.
Stay Hydrated: This applies to all ages…drink plenty of cool water! Staying hydrated takes intentionality, it does not happen automatically. Scheduling your consumption of cool water or clear low-sugar juices is the best way to ensure you are giving your body the proper amounts of fluids. Strategically place water bottles in places that you are most likely to ‘sit and sip’; bedside tables, sofa tables, bathroom sinks, kitchen tables, etc. Remember that alcohol and caffeine can dehydrate so extra hydration to compensate is needed.
Air conditioning: Modern science is a blessing; take advantage of it! Spend as much time as possible in air conditioned spaces; there is no reward for ‘toughing it out’ in the heat. Staying in air-conditioning doesn’t necessarily mean staying cooped up in your home. There are many public places that offer respite from the heat: library, senior center, indoor malls, movie theaters. Scheduling your day to include air-conditioning is the safest way to ensure you won’t get stuck in the heat.
If you are a caregiver or a relative close to an older person, be proactive and be aware. It can be easy for able-bodied adults to take advantage of the ways their bodies can compensate for extreme heat and it can be easy to forget that as our bodies age, our coping mechanisms slow down and are not as effective. Check in more often, be more forceful about changing daily habits, and provide activities and opportunities that put your loved one’s health first.
Burlington Health Care is committed to providing the best home health care products and services. Their caring staff is dedicated to helping you care for the aging adults in your life. Providing health products that range from necessary to the comforting, Burlington Health Care is Northern Kentucky’s best solution to keeping your loved ones safe during these hot summer months.