If you’ve stepped outside lately, you know that summer is heating up. We’ve already had some days creep to the 90 degree mark, and this is only the beginning. In Pennsylvania, our summer months get dangerously hot and this heat is especially dangerous for our aging senior adult population.
Far too many injuries and deaths occur each summer due to the heat. This summer, in order to beat the heat, we urge you to be proactive with how you and your loved ones prepare for the coming weeks. Here are five steps to help get your started.
- Make sure air conditioning and fans are in working order.
Imagine on a hot day, your senior parents going to turn on their air conditioning unit and nothing happens. The temperatures are quickly rising and you may not be able to track down a repair man for hours, if not days. What do you do? This is the scenario you want to avoid and you can do so by making sure all air conditioning units and fans are in working order right now. Ideally, you would even do this in the spring months to allow time for repairs. Checking these things early and often will prevent the panic of being without cool relief in the hottest months.
- Limit time outside during the hottest hours.
The next thing you can do to be proactive about summer heat safety for your aging loved ones is to limit their time spent outdoors between 10am and 2pm. These are the hottest hours of the day and also when the sun is most direct. You can avoid unnecessary heat exhaustion and sunburn by planning your outdoor activities accordingly.
- Make it easy to stay hydrated.
When preparing for the summer, also check the home to be sure there are ample opportunities to get water and stay hydrated. Make it easy and enjoyable for your loved ones to drink liquids. Are water glasses easy to get to? Are there water bottles to make it more portable? Are there some low-calorie drinks that offer some taste to add variety? All of these things will help make proper hydration possible.
- Switch out the wardrobe.
For many senior adults, getting dressed each morning is a challenge all on its own. When summer comes around there is also the challenge of locating weather-appropriate clothes. If all the light-weight tops and shorts are packed away in storage, or on high shelves, it’s not going to be as easy as it should be to dress smart for the heat. Before summer sets in help your loved ones unpack their summer wear and remind them of the best outfits for the hottest days.
- Check in regularly.
Finally and most importantly, on hot days you should check in just a bit more frequently with your senior parents and grandparents. Not only is this a great opportunity to remind them of summer heat safety, you will also be able to hear how they are feeling and if they are staying cool and hydrated. This small act to keep seniors safe in the summer is well worth the effort!
This summer, be sure to be smart about the sun and the heat. The best defense is to be proactive with how you dress, the time you spend outside, and staying hydrated. We hope you’ll take these five actions and put them into practice for you and your loved ones this summer!