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5 Quick Tips for Seniors to Beat the Summer Heat

Monday, June 30, 2014

Summer is the season to be outdoors, visit with friends, and enjoy the sunshine.  But the summer heat and sun can also make it dangerous for seniors. Are you being safe enough this summer?

Here at Angels of the Valley, we understand how important it is for seniors to be careful on extremely hot days. Our caregivers can help in-home care senior clients avoid dangerous situations and stay safe. Ask yourself these five questions and see if you are staying safe in the summer heat. Or if you have a loved one who is elderly, see if they are following these five safety tips.

1. Are you drinking plenty of fluids?
Seniors are more at risk for dehydration than other age groups, so be aware of your need for water.  Age can reduce the sensation of thirst making it difficult to know when dehydration is beginning.  Aim to drink at least six glasses of water each day during the warm summer months.

2. Are you out midday?
If you answered “yes”, then it’s time to rethink when you’re going outside.  Not only does it feel hottest in the middle of the day, but the sun is also at its strongest.  Risk of sunburn and heat stroke are severe on even those not-so-hot days.  Opt instead to run errands or exercise outside in the early morning or evening.

3. Do you know how your medications will affect you this summer?
Even though you’ve been taking the same medications for the last several months, it doesn’t mean that they won’t have some additional side effects this summer.  Some medications increase the risk of dehydration.  Some increase the sensitivity to UV rays.  Some decrease sensation, which could leave you open to sudden heatstroke.  Ask your doctor or pharmacist about medication side effects in the summer.

4. Do you regularly use sunscreen?
Sunburn is more than just discomfort and redness.  It can leave seniors dehydrated and open to infection.  Therefore, it is important to be protected from the sun’s rays every time you are outdoors this summer.  Find a sunscreen that is at least SPF 15 and apply it a half hour before going outdoors.  Then reapply frequently.  To double up on safety, add a sunhat and sunglasses as well.

5. Are you using your air conditioning?
While saving some pennies by turning on the air conditioning only when it’s very hot is financially wise, err on the side of caution and turn it on when you start to feel warm.  If you have air conditioning is only available in a few rooms, stay in those rooms when it is hot.  If you don’t have air conditioning, find places that do.  Libraries, movie theaters, shopping malls, and senior centers are great places to cool down when it’s too warm to be home.

So, are you being safe this summer?  Is your elderly loved one following these tips? If not, make a few changes to ensure the safety of you and your friends and family during the hot days of summer. But don’t forget to still have some fun occasionally too! The summer can be a great time to socialize and get some fresh air. If you know of a loved one who could benefit from our in-home care services, check out Angels of the Valley Website or give us a call today! (951) 927-7428


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