The summer months for most people means enjoying time outside, fun and relation. For seniors though, the sun and heat can mean more dangers like eye damage, sunburn and dehydration. Below you will find some tips for caring for your elderly relatives in the summer months.
Keep an eye on your loved ones hydration, making sure they drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water daily. The elderly also become less aware of their thirst while also having trouble adjusting to changes in temperature. If your loved one is doing any prolonged physical activity, make sure there water intake is increased.
- Dress Properly
Make sure your loved one is dressed for the weather, during the summer that should be: loose-fitting, lightweight clothing, light-colored clothing. Also consider wearing long sleeve shirts to protect the skin from the sun and a wide brimmed hat to keep the sun off the face and neck. Keep your loved ones eyes protected from sun exposure with full coverage sunglasses that block UVB and UVA rays.
- Keep Cool
Even the slightest increase in temperature can affect your loved one who is dealing with a chronic medical condition. During those hot and humid days keep the air conditioner on or go somewhere with AC. Visit the senior center; go to a movie or shopping in air conditioned places to keep cool. Between 10am and 4pm the sun is the strongest, so have your loved one avoid outdoor activities during that time.
- Watch for Heat Stroke
Watch your loved one for signs of heat stroke, which include: confusion, disorientation, nausea, dry skin, headache, fainting, rapid pulse and excessive tiredness. If your relative is experiencing these symptoms seek medical help immediately.
- Check Medications
In the summertime some medications might have side effects such as increased sensitivity to UV rays. Some medications are also less effective when stored in high temperatures. Ask the doctor about any side effects from your loved ones medications.
- Apply Sunscreen
Everyone should wear sunscreen outside, especially the elderly. Remind your loved one to apply sunscreen frequently when staying outside. Be sure they have a UVA and UVB blocking sunscreen that is 15 SPF or higher.
- Apply Bug Spray
The elderly are more prone than others to mosquito borne illnesses like West Nile. If your loved one spends time outdoors, especially at night, use a mosquito repellent to reduce the risk of getting bit.
- Know Who to Call
Prepare a list of emergency phone numbers and keep in an easy to access location. If any issues arise the right people can be notified fast.
Lastly and most importantly make sure someone is checking in on your loved one often in the summer months. Communication is the key to ensuring your loved ones safety.