Safety In The Sun: How To Help The Elderly In Summer
The Aussie summer is still well and truly upon us, and whilst for many that means days spent soaking up the lovely sun, for the elderly this can be a dangerous time.
Elderly Australians are more susceptible to the summer heat than younger generations, as their bodies are less resistant to rising temperatures. With this in mind, the best aged care in Wollongong will always provide safety advice on how to care for the elderly during the year’s hotter months.
Here are some important pieces of advice for caring for the elderly in the summer months:
- Help them stay hydrated
Staying hydrated is imperative for anyone in the summer months, but especially so for the elderly. Help them stay hydrated by ensuring they drink eight or more glasses of water daily, as well as advising them to caffeinated beverages like coffee and soft drinks. What’s more, alcohol is one of the world’s great dehydrators, so advise them to stay off the drink on a hot summer’s day.
- Try to avoid the midday heat
The midday heat can be harsh for even younger, more physically able people, so imagine how trying it can be for the elderly. The sun is at its harshest between the hours of 10am and four pm, and it can pose severe risk of sunburn and heat stroke. So, where possible, try and stay out of the sun when it’s at its gnarliest.
- Try and stay close to air conditioning
As the summer’s heat can be particularly trying for the elderly, it’s important that they are able to stay close to the air conditioner or at least a high quality fan. If they are to go out during the day, ensure that they have access to an air conditioned space, like those found at shopping malls, the cinemas, cafes and more.
- Help them dress appropriately
No one likes the discomfort of miss-dressing in summer, but it can be hazardous for the elderly as it can quickly contribute to a rising body temperature. So, advise them to wear light, loose-fitting clothing, and to wear light, bright colours that won’t absorb the summer sun.
- Ensure that they protect their skin & eyes
This is imperative, especially as sunburn and the effects of harsh sun on the eyes can be particularly hazardous for the elderly. So, if they are to go out in the summer sun, advise them to wear high quality sunscreen and sunglasses, as well as a wide-brimmed hat to protect their face and neck.
- Be aware of the side-effects of prescription medicines
Certain medications can make the elderly more susceptible to the summer heat. Speak to the elderly person’s doctor about their medications and whether they make them more susceptible to the heat. There are early warning signs in the case of a bad heat reaction, including hyperthermia, exhaustion, dehydration and heat stroke.
Warning signs to look out for include nausea, a flushed face, rapid pulse, high body temperature, lethargy, headache, exhaustion, disorientation, dry skin, confusion and dizziness. If any of these symptoms begins then you should take immediate action to remedy the situation.
Finally, be sure to maintain regular contact with family and other caregivers, ensuring that they are all aware of the elderly person’s specific needs regarding summer’s dangers.
This, alongside visiting them regularly and ensuring the above measures are taken, are the most important ways to care for the elderly during the nastier summer days of the year.