During the winter months, you may worry about how cold temperatures and slippery surfaces could affect your elderly loved one. In the summer, hot temperatures, sunburn and dehydration become the focus. If your loved one needs some assistance with caring for themselves or making decisions, the same will be true when it comes to long days in the sun. Be prepared to protect your loved one and make sure that you and their caregivers are practicing these tips.
Offer Lots of Fluids
Offer your loved one plenty of fluids, even if they’re not thirsty. Seniors should avoid alcoholic or caffeinated beverages, so stick to plain or flavored water, iced tea, lemonade or fruit juices. Sports drinks can also be a good choice since the body loses sodium and potassium through sweating. Keeping hydrated prevents heat exhaustion and dehydration, plus keeps the body and skin healthier and stronger.
Avoid Direct Sun Exposure
You may want to sit Mom or Dad in the sun, but avoid direct exposure, especially during the peak hours of 10-3 pm. Choose shaded spots, and offer an umbrella, wide-brimmed hat and pair of sunglasses for eye and skin protection. Opt for natural sunscreens that have limited chemicals and no fragrances added.
Choose Sturdy Shoes
Slips and falls are the leading cause of injuries and hospital admissions for people age 65 and older, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The summertime is no exception. Choose sturdy, secure shoes for your loved one. Since they may be going in and out of the home more frequently, make sure that there is a safe, well-lit path for your loved one to follow.
Keep the Home Cool
It’s possible that your loved one’s feet may feel cold even though they may be hot. This happens because the body has a harder time regulating its internal temperature as it ages. An ideal temperature to keep the home at is around 76 degrees. It should never exceed 80 degrees because the risk of heart-related illnesses increases.
Arrange for Visits
It’s particularly important to have friends, family, caregivers or neighbors stop by and check on Mom or Dad when it’s hot outside. They can make sure that your loved one’s home is comfortable, and that all fans and cooling equipment are in good working order. Don’t forget to offer the same kind gesture to elders in your own neighborhood. A quick visit can make a huge difference!