Here in Central Pennsylvania, it feels like we wait most of the year for warm and sunny weather. It’s natural for us to want to get outside and enjoy every minute of it! However, we must use common sense when it comes to exposing ourselves to the sun and heat. Especially for older adults, the summer months pose real safety concerns such as dehydration, sunburn and heat exhaustion.
In an effort to keep our aging loved ones safe this summer, take a look at some tips for helping senior adults be proactive when it comes to beating the heat!
Encourage your loved ones to dress in layers during the summer months. While they may feel cold in the morning or indoors with the AC on, during the afternoon and into the evening, things warm up quickly. Especially if you plan to go outside for any amount of time, plan ahead by wearing easy to remove layers that can quickly come off when the heat kicks in.
Even when covered up with layers, begin each morning by applying sunscreen. Whether you will be simply sitting in the sun for any period of time, or plan to be walking, gardening, etc., sunscreen is so important to keep your skin safe. Not only will it prevent the discomfort of sunburn, it will prevent serious long-term damage that may cause skin cancer. Sunscreen at every age is important, but especially for our aging loved ones who may need assistance applying it.
Give Air Conditioning Units a Check-Up
The worst time to figure out your air conditioning unit no longer works is in the heat of summer when you need it most. Help your aging loved one give their AC unit a check-up prior to the dog days of summer by scheduling an HVAC company to come and test everything out. If they do need a new unit, you will be able to plan ahead and have everything up and running before it becomes a danger to their health.
Limit Time Outside During Peak Heat Hours
Watch the forecast and plan your day accordingly. Avoid outdoor activities when temperatures reach into the 80’s and above. Be sure to also take humidity and wind into account. Early mornings are a great time to enjoy sunshine without the direct heat. Also seek shaded spots to relax, rather than placing an aging loved one in direct sunlight.
Have cold water readily available and within reach. Some seniors may not have the ability to refill their own water bottles or drink from a cup. Be sure they have assistance throughout the day to meet these basic needs to stay hydrated. Even for seniors who are physically capable of providing themselves with water, like anyone, they will need encouragement to remember how much water they should drink in a day.
Have a Plan for Help
Most importantly, develop an action plan for getting help. Your loved one needs to know how to speak up when they feel too hot, thirsty or weak. Clearly communicate, and create a reminder, of who they should contact for any number of emergencies. Do a test run to make sure they are comfortable with the process. The peace of mind is well worth the effort!
How do you plan to help an aging loved one stay safe this summer? Share your favorite tip by leaving a comment below!