Many of us look forward to the summer with anticipation. We’re excited to spend more time outside and expect to be more active than during the cold winter months. But, for seniors, summer brings its own set of warm weather hazards. Keeping seniors safe in the summer requires being vigilant about things like heat, sun, and insects. Below are some tips to keep your aging relative safe this summer.
Drink Plenty of Liquids
One of the changes the body undergoes as it ages is that it contains less fluids than when it was younger. This means that older adults are more likely to become dehydrated. To avoid dehydration, make sure your older family member drinks plenty of liquids. Water, of course, is the best choice. But, delicious summer drinks like lemonade, iced tea, and infused water are also good choices.
Turn on the AC
If the senior has air conditioning, they should use it on hot days. Although many seniors worry about the cost of running the air conditioner, high temperatures can be dangerous. If they do not have air conditioning and fans are not enough to keep the house cool, consider going on an outing to someplace air conditioned, like the library, a movie theater, or a shopping mall. If the cost of using air conditioning puts a strain on the older adult’s finances, the federal government does have a program to help low-income individuals with their energy bills. The name of the program is Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP.
Sunburn is not only painful, but it also increases the risk for skin cancer. Older adults should use a broad-spectrum sunscreen when they go outside. They should also wear long sleeved, light colored clothing to increase protection from the sun. Staying in the shade as much as possible can help, too.
Use Insect Repellant
Mosquito bites leave itchy bumps on the skin. Since the skin of older adults is thinner, it is more likely to tear if they scratch at the bites, putting them at risk for infection. Before going outside, apply insect repellant that is at least 20 percent DEET. This kind of insect repellant also offers protection from ticks and other kinds of insects.
If you worry about your aging relative’s safety during the summer heat, home care can help. Home care providers can make certain the senior’s house doesn’t get too hot. When the temperature is dangerously high, a home care provider can take the older adult on an outing where there is air conditioning. Additionally, they can provide cold drinks throughout the day and remind the senior to drink. Home care providers can also assist with applying sunscreen and insect repellant.