The Art Of Keeping Seniors From Overheating In The Summer
The state of California is widely known for its Mediterranean-like climate. Warm, dry summers with average daily high temperatures hovering around 70°F and up are the norm. However, from time to time, those temperatures can spike to 80°F. While many Californians love such weather conditions, our elderly population is put at risk when they occur.
Among the many issues, older adults can endure during the summer is heat stress. This is when the body is unable to cool itself and maintain a healthy temperature. So it’s important, of course, to learn the art of keeping seniors from overheating in the summer.
Utilize Numerous Cooling Solutions
Pull out all the stops on particularly hot days. Offer your elderly loved one cold drinks and/or frozen treats such as popsicles and ice cream. Run your air conditioning or a fan in the room where the senior in your home is located. Spend greater amounts of time in the basement if it is comfortable to do so. It is generally cooler in the lower levels of the home. Remember, of course, that heat rises.
“Clean out vents and replace air filters to help promote a robust, healthy flow of clean air,” suggests Chicago’s Companions For Seniors, “Meanwhile, help your loved one choose a few cooling ‘hacks’ to try out, such as keeping an ice pack in the freezer, using a damp cloth to cool down, or even stocking up on popsicles or frozen fruits.”
Ensure Your Home is Properly Ventilated
The last thing you want to do is produce that “cooped up” feeling during the summertime. Opening the windows and the doors is an ideal way to promote airflow throughout the home. This will also avoid trapping in the heat. As Allen Riggs points out on Caregiver.com, excessive heat can be dangerous, especially to those who are home without air conditioners or fans.
“Many seniors will sacrifice a cool breeze from an open window due to security concerns,” he writes, “Inexpensive safety latches are available for windows that allow the air to circulate, but also prevent the window from being completely opened from the outside. Check with your local hardware store for options.”
Be on the Lookout for Hyperthermia Warning Signs
Compared to their younger counterparts, older adults are at a much greater risk of hyperthermia in all its forms. They include heat exhaustion, cramps, stress, and heatstroke. Be very wary of the onset of such symptoms as fatigue, dizziness, nausea, and headaches. As Companions For Seniors informs, all of these could be signs that your elderly loved one is having a bad reaction to the heat.
According to their website, “the NIH encourages caregivers to get immediate medical attention if their loved one is showing any signs of heatstroke, including a significant increase in body temperature, ‘changes in mental status (like confusion or combativeness), strong rapid pulse, lack of sweating, dry flushed skin, feeling faint, staggering or coma.’”
Encourage the Taking of Cool Showers
The gentle massage of water running through our hair and down our back is one of the best parts of our day. However, many seniors avoid shower time due to their mobility limitations. At Forward Day, our Shower Bay portable showers make it easy for wheelchair users to bathe in any room of the home where it is convenient.