Tips for Keeping Seniors Safe in the Heat: Water, Water Everywhere
Seniors are more at risk for dehydration in general because they have a lower fluid content and a decreased thirst response. So the trick to staying hydrated, especially when it’s really hot, is to drink, even when you don’t feel thirsty.
Many medications can cause dehydration, such as beta-blockers and diuretics prescribed for people with high blood pressure. Some allergy or anxiety medications trick our bodies into not sweating and as a result, we don’t FEEL hot so we don’t drink water.
It’s critical to understand how a senior’s medications are affected by the heat. Read the drug insert, research it online or consult with a physician.
Staying hydrated can prevent dizziness that often accompanies dehydration – and since dizziness can increase the risk of falls, drinking lots of water can reduce the likelihood of a fall-related injury.
Tips for Keeping Seniors Safe in the Heat: How to Stay Cool
Avoid being outside during the hottest part of the day.
Wear breathable, loose-fitting clothing like cotton or linen.
Seek air-conditioned places. If your home doesn’t have AC, visit a local cooling station, the library, a recreation center, a senior center or a mall. Local Area Agencies on Aging can connect seniors with rides.
Close windows and curtains to block out sun and heat during the day.
Drink plenty of fluids but avoid alcohol and caffeine.
Take a cool shower, bath, or sponge bath. Keep a cool washcloth on the back of the neck.
The CDC recommends using electric fans only when the temperature is below the high 90s. Any hotter and AC or a cool shower works better at cooling.
Tips for Keeping Seniors Safe in the Heat: Managing Medications
As we age, we often become more sensitive to medications and high heat can make it worse.
Medications for high blood pressure like beta-blockers and diuretics can make some people dehydrated, which can be exacerbated by high heat.
Some allergy or anxiety medications trick our bodies into not sweating and s a result we don’t FEEL hot. This can lead to dehydration or heatstroke.
If someone you know is taking medications like these, it’s important to check on them regularly when it’s hot. Make sure they are taking the appropriate dose, staying hydrated and staying out of the heat.
Tips for Keeping Seniors Safe in the Heat: From the National Institute on Aging
According to the National Institute on Aging, headache, confusion, dizziness, or nausea could be a sign of a heat-related illness.
Drink fluids, but avoid alcohol and caffeine, which can dehydrate you.
If you live in a home or apartment without fans or air conditioning, try to keep your house as cool as possible. Limit your use of the oven. Keep your shades, blinds, or curtains closed during the hottest part of the day. Open your windows at night.
If your house is hot, try to spend time during mid-day some place that has air conditioning—for example, go to the shopping mall, movies, library, senior center, or a friend’s house.
If you are concerned about a loved one well being please give us a call. We will connect you with a local SYNERGY HomeCare agency that can conduct a wellness check and give you peace of mind.