It's summertime! While most of us appreciate it when the temperatures here on the Kenai Peninsula hit the high 80s, this heat can be too much for seniors. In this blog post, we'll provide a helpful guide outlining practical steps to prepare their home for the summer heat. Senior Helpers of the Kenai Peninsula is here to help you navigate the challenges of caring for seniors during the warmest months of the year, so let's get started!
Optimal Indoor Temperatures
One of the key factors in keeping seniors safe during the summer is ensuring a comfortable and consistent indoor temperature. The ideal range for seniors is between 68 and 74 degrees Fahrenheit. Maintaining a consistent temperature throughout the day is crucial, as fluctuations can make it difficult for seniors to adjust and may lead to discomfort or even heat-related illnesses. Few Alaska homes—only 7 percent—have central air conditioning, but window units help keep vulnerable people cool if you can get your hands on one.
Fresh air and ventilation are essential to preventing heat-related illnesses, especially during the summer months. Make sure to keep windows open when it's cooler outside to allow fresh air to circulate within the home. Using fans can also enhance air circulation, creating a more comfortable environment for seniors. Consider using air purifiers to maintain good indoor air quality, which can be especially beneficial for seniors with respiratory issues.
The Importance of Hydration
Seniors are at increased risk of dehydration for several reasons, such as a decreased sense of thirst and medications that may affect hydration levels. It's important to encourage seniors to drink plenty of water to avoid potential complications. You can make drinking water more appealing by offering flavored water or using a water bottle with measurement markings to help them keep track of their intake. Incorporating water-rich foods, like fruits and vegetables, into their daily meals will also contribute to their hydration and overall well-being.
Sun Protection Measures
Seniors have an increased risk of sunburn and skin damage due to thinner skin and a greater likelihood of being on medications that make them more sensitive to sunlight. To protect your loved one from the sun, encourage them to wear wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen with a high SPF. Limiting sun exposure during peak hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) will help reduce their risk of sun-related harm.
Recognizing Signs of Heat-related Illnesses
Caregivers and family members must recognize the signs of heat-related illnesses, such as dizziness, nausea, confusion, or rapid heartbeat. If a senior exhibits any of these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately. Taking preventive steps can help avoid these dangerous situations.
- Dressing seniors in lightweight, breathable clothing can help them stay cool and comfortable during the summer months.
- Consider using cooling products, such as cooling towels and gel pillows, to provide further relief from the heat.
- Make it a point to check in on seniors regularly during the summer months, ensuring their well-being and offering assistance as needed.
Keep Cool With Senior Helpers
Our professional caregivers can ensure your senior loved one is safe and secure in their own homes. Whether they need drop-in wellness checks, help with daily tasks and chores, or just some compassionate companionship, we're here for them.
If your loved one lives in Soldotna, Anchorage, Moose Pass, Ninilchik, or Seldovia and needs assistance, contact us at Senior Helpers of the Kenai Peninsula for support.