Keeping Seniors Safe in the Summer Sun

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BA65396It’s summertime in Naples, Florida and we all know the scenic views come with the price of overwhelming rays from the powerful sun. At Just Like Family Home Care we want to ensure safety in the warm weather! The heat makes summer a dangerous season for everyone, but seniors are at a higher risk of suffering complications from the heat.

Most people don’t realize it, but according to the Huffington Post, extreme summer heat causes thousands of heat-related illnesses in the U.S. each year, and kills more people than hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, floods and earthquakes combined. Seniors are among the most vulnerable.

Many seniors take medications that could dehydrate them or make them more sensitive to the sun. Bodies of older adults also contain far less water than a younger person’s, and older brains don’t recognize thirst as easily, making them more likely to get dehydrated. For seniors who are not as mobile or depend on others to come by to care for them, they may not be able to move themselves to a cooler spot or help themselves if they start feeling heat-sick when they’re by themselves.

There are two main types of heat conditions: heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Both are categorized by dizziness, rapid or weak pulse, bright red skin, clamminess, and spots on the eyes. Both these conditions can cause the body temperature to get upwards toward 103 degrees.

In addition, many seniors have certain health problems that can increase their risk of hyperthermia (when the body overheats). These include:

• Underlying diseases like congestive heart failure, diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD.
• Trouble walking or moving around.
• Being overweight.
• Having dementia or other problems with thinking skills.

Suggestions to keep seniors cooler:

  • Wear light colored or loose clothing
  • Use sunscreen, even if going outside for just a short period of time
  • Wear a hat that is wide-brimmed to protect the face (but isn’t so tight as to prevent ventilation)
  • Stay hydrated with water or other non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated drinks
  • Keep a spray bottle with cool water nearby to lightly spritz the face and body
  • A shady spot outdoors may be cooler than inside, so sitting on a covered porch with a portable or ceiling fan may be a good option
  • If you are inside with no AC, stay on the lower floor of your residence (which is typically cooler)
  • Mobile seniors should try to spend a few hours each day in a place with A/C: either a mall, library, a movie, or restaurant

At Just Like Family Home Care, we wish you a safe and COOL summer!

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