When the sun is out, so are many seniors. There’s plenty of fun to be had in the summer months but caregivers and their seniors also face unique risks.
According to the CDC, around 31% of weather-related deaths in the US are due to heat-related issues. Seniors, especially those with cardiovascular issues, are at increased risk of health problems resulting from heat exposure. Caregivers and seniors can stay cool using these tips.
Tip 1: Pay Attention to Heat Wave Reports
When you check the weather, pay attention to reports of heatwaves. A combination of humidity and temperature, heat waves can affect the body temperature dangerously. There are three progressive levels of heatwave indicators to look for:
A heat watch indicates that a heatwave may be swelling up, increasing the risk of heat-related health problems. At this point, relocate any outdoor plans you have for the next two days to the indoors.
Heat warnings indicate a heatwave is imminent. Seniors should prepare for outages and being homebound for a few days. Once a heat advisory is issued, seniors need to stay inside cool buildings and drink plenty of water. (Red Cross)
Tip 2: Stay Hydrated
One of the best ways to prevent heat-related health problems is simply to stay hydrated. Avoid caffeine, which actually dehydrates the body. Drink 8 glasses of water, fruit juices, and even healthy sports drinks to stay cool and filled up with needed fluid.
Tip 3: Protect Your Skin
You’re never too old to suffer from sunburn. Protect your skin against sunburn and even skin cancer simply by applying sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more. Wear hats and light clothing too.
Tip 4: Find Cool Places to Spend Time
Air conditioning enables people to enjoy summer comfortably and safely. Some states offer low-income citizens, including many seniors, financial assistance paying energy bills. Another option for staying cool indoors is visiting places with air conditioning, like senior centres, movie theatres, or local libraries. (Benefits.gov)30
Tip 5: Avoid Unnecessary Heat Sources
Don’t add heat to everyday living when it’s already hot outside. Take lukewarm or cool showers or baths. Eat cold meals or room temperature foods. Seek transportation help instead of waiting outside for public transit.
Tip 6: Dress for Summer Weather
Light, airy clothing is best in the heat. Tight, dark, thick clothing can be problematic. To ensure comfort in air conditioning and outdoors, dress in easy to remove layers.
Tip 7: Recognize Signs of Heat-Related Emergencies
Being able to spot the signs of a heat-related emergency can save a life. Caregivers and seniors should pay attention to symptoms like:
- Lack of sweat
- Weakness or cramping
- Stomach problems or nausea
- Quickened heartbeat
- Difficulty breathing or shallow breathing
Signs like these can be indicators of dehydration, heat exhaustion, or even heat stroke. If you notice these symptoms, take steps to cool off quickly and seek medical attention. (WebMD)
Tip 8: Know How to Get Cool Quickly
If someone is overheated or begins to show signs of heat-related health problems, get them cool quickly. Getting cool can prevent overheating from becoming a medical problem or reduce the severity of a heat-related emergency. (Family Doctor)
In 1995 he became Administrator of Dial-a-Nurse nursing agency, the oldest nursing agency in the Southwest Florida succeeding his mother who started the company 37 years ago. He is also President of Nevco, Inc., an educational healthcare training company begun in 1988.
Mr. Wolfendale has worked with the U.S. Department of Commerce on various Missions to improve the quality of life around the world by development of supportive healthcare programs. In 2005 he traveled with U.S. officials and addressed the Italian National Government assisting in the creation of Nurse Education mandates for that Country. In 2006 he was invited and spoke with the National Institutes of Continuing Education in Eastern Europe on healthcare education and developmental mandates, and most recently represented the United States at the European Union in Lake Balaton, Hungary in 2011. In 2014 he traveled with the U.S. Department of State to Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam in an effort to improve caregiver knowledge and training.
Mr. Wolfendale has worked with a number of non-profits in contributing and creating curriculum to improve the quality of life in third-world countries since 2001, and notably created a successful program in Odessa, India that has been modeled in other areas of the world. In his backyard, he has worked with local Goodwill Industries to provide curriculum and training to underserved individuals who have obtained employment as a result of educational training. He was the Congressional appointment to the Governor's purple ribbon task force in 2013, and has worked to educate caregivers in all aspects of Alzheimer's training.
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