Summer is a time of fun and relaxation for most people. But for seniors, the heat and sun can be dangerous if the proper precautions aren’t taken. Senior Helpers, Arizona’s leading in-home caregiving provider, has a list of tips that aging adults, as well as their caregivers, can use to make sure they have a safe summer including:
1. Stay hydrated: Seniors are more susceptible to dehydration than younger people.
2. Keep cool: Even small increases in temperature can shorten the life expectancy for seniors who are coping with chronic medical conditions.
3. Stay in touch: High temperatures can be life-threatening, so constant communication is important.
4. Eye protection: Vision loss can be common among seniors and too much exposure to the sun can irritate eyes and cause further damage.
5. Hyperthermia risks: Symptoms like a body temperature greater than 104 degrees, dry skin, nausea, heavy breathing and fainting are all red flags.
6. Wear sunscreen and bug repellent: Keep bug spray and a high-SPF sunscreen on hand and apply regularly in accordance with the label’s instructions.
7. Wellness watch: Have someone stop by the home at least twice a week to check that the air conditioner is working properly and set at a reasonable temperature.
8. Medication check: Check with your medical professional to make sure medications will not be affected by higher temperatures.
9. Companionship is key: Keeping seniors engaged is vital to maintain a will to thrive. Whether it is watching a moving, taking short walks or playing a regularly scheduled game inside, it’s important to have some kind of activity planned.
10. Check the forecast: When the heat starts to get extreme, make sure your plans give you an easy out from the outdoors so you can take breaks and cool off.
If the role of caregiving becomes too stressful, it’s important to call in reinforcements to assess the situation and offer help where they can. Senior Helpers has locations throughout The Valley. Visit seniorhelpers.com for more information.
Ketha Bonadie is the director of operations at Senior Helpers of Glendale.