Tips to Help Seniors Stay Safe in the Summer Heat

Senior couple on walk in countryside
05 Jul 2017

While the summer months can be a beautiful time to get outdoors and enjoy some sunshine, it can also be a dangerous time for our seniors. Overheating and dehydration are very real threats to our health, especially to our aging loved ones who may not have the help or resources to prevent them.

In an effort to keep everyone safe this summer, take a look at some tips for helping our seniors be proactive when it comes to beating the heat!

Dress in layers

If you’re a caregiver or family member of an aging loved one, encourage them 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 they plan to go outside for any amount of time, they will want some easy to remove layers that can quickly come off when the heat kicks in.

Limit time outside during peak heat hours

Watch the forecast and plan your day. Avoid outdoor activities when temperatures reach into the 90’s and above. Be sure to also take humidity and wind into account. Early mornings are a great time to enjoy some sunshine without the direct heat. Also seek shaded spots to relax, rather than placing an aging loved one in direct sunlight.

Apply sunscreen

In addition to limiting time outside, it’s important to apply 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 for stay safe in the sun. 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.

Have air conditioning units checked early

Whether you are a caregiver or a family member, you should play an active role in helping your aging loved one get their HAVC system checked prior to summer. Schedule a maintenance person to come in and check the air conditioning system. They will clean it and run some tests to be sure it’s ready to perform when it’s needed the most.

Always keep water on hand

Be sure cold water is readily available and easy to drink. 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 and oh so important needs to stay hydrated. Even for seniors who are physically capable of providing themselves with water, like anyone, they will need encouragement to remember the importance of drinking enough water in a day.

Check in throughout the day

If your aging loved one still lives alone, it’s critically important that you check in with them several times throughout the day during the summer months, or have another caregiver who can. If more than several hours pass without the ability for them to notify you of an issue like a broken air conditioning unit, it could have dire consequences.

Have a plan of action for getting help

Finally, be sure to communicate a plan of action for getting help. Whether they live alone or in a personal care home, your loved one still needs to know how to speak up when they need help. If they’re too hot, thirsty or feeling faint, they should know who to contact and how to do it quickly. Do a test run to make sure they are comfortable with the process. It is well worth the effort!

What other questions or concerns do you have about keeping seniors safe in the summer heat? Ask by leaving a comment!

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Comments

  1. Monica Chavez Says: June 25, 2018 at 7:20 pm

    I like your idea to help your aging loved one have the HVAC system checked prior to summer time so that they don’t run into any issues when it air conditioning system is needed most. My grandma just turned eighty, and it’s been hard for her to remember basic tasks like this. It would be really beneficial if she had a caregiver to help her get these types of things taken care of so she doesn’t have to stress too much about it.

    • Marketing Says: June 25, 2018 at 11:52 pm

      Thank you for commenting, Monica! We’re glad you found our advice useful. We agree that having professional caregivers, like at a continuing care retirement community, provides families with the peace of mind knowing their aging loved one is being cared for around the clock.

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