Elderly adults in New York have undoubtedly lived through many seasons of extreme weather and have the stories to prove it. But as our bodies change with age, hot temperatures affect us in more profound ways.
Here are some ways that you can keep the senior citizen in your life safe this summer, no matter how high the temperatures rise.
Ensuring Proper Hydration
The human body becomes naturally more dehydrated when the weather is hot, regardless of your age. But this effect is especially problematic with the elderly. Provide seniors with hydrating fluids throughout the day, and mostly stick to water instead of sugary fruit juices. Since alcohol makes the body even more hydrated, cocktail consumption should be reduced during the hot summer months.
Heat and Common Medications
Many seniors rely on several daily medications to keep them healthy and functioning well throughout the day. However, some of these medications likely have side effects, such as vulnerability to sun exposure and being more prone to sunburns. Seniors that take diuretics or antipsychotic mediations, for example, can help counter this vulnerability by wearing sunscreen, sunglasses, long sleeves and pants, and a wide-brimmed hat when leaving the house in the summer.
Also, some medications can become less effective if stored at temperatures over 78 degrees Fahrenheit. So, seniors should discuss this risk with their doctors to ensure that hot indoor temperatures aren’t preventing their medications from working properly.
Keep the Home as Cool as Possible
There are several things that you can to do help keep a senior’s home cool, even when the mercury continues to rise. Use shades or curtains to cover up sunny windows, and extend outdoor awnings to further prevent the sun’s rays from entering the home. Take this precaution to the next level by wrapping aluminum foil around pieces of cardboard and placing them outside windows that face the sun on hot days. This helps reflect light away from the house and keep heat away. It may also help to change the filters in the air conditioners, or at least vacuum the existing ones, to boost the effectiveness and efficiency of the home’s cooling system.
Switch Up Your Schedule
Since the hottest times of day tend to be between the mid-morning and mid-afternoon hours, seniors may want to change up their schedules a bit on very hot days. Instead of going for a walk in the afternoon or evening, try heading out first thing in the morning when you wake up. Essential errands that are absolutely necessary should be run early in the morning so that the hottest part of the day can be spent indoors with air conditioning and fans.
Understanding the Signs of Heat Exhaustion
Whether you’re a professional caregiver, have an elderly family member, or are just a concerned citizen, it is important to understand the early warning signs of heat exhaustion in the elderly. It is common for a senior with heat exhaustion to complain of having a headache or dry mouth. Their skin may feel sweaty or clammy, and their breathing may be fast and shallow. In more severe cases, a senior may feel nauseous, dizzy, or even vomit due to heat exhaustion. If any of these symptoms are present, seek medical attention right away because heat exhaustion can quickly turn into a heatstroke.
Call Your Local Stair Lift Dealer
Assistive technology devices can make living at home much safer and easier for seniors. To minimize physical exertion in the hot summer months, call your local stair lift dealer to learn about how state-of-the-art Bruno stairlifts can improve seniors’ quality of life.
Dermer Stairlifts is your premium stair lift dealer that serves the entire New York area, including all five boroughs, as well as Nassau and Westchester Counites too. By combining in-home upgrades and the hot weather tips noted above, the senior in your life can enjoy the beauty of the summer season in peace and comfort.