Soaring temperatures and triple digit heat indices may be keeping you inside more than usual this year, but for aging seniors, dealing with the summer heat requires a little more planning than simply waiting it out indoors. One of the best things you can do to protect your aging parents and other senior loved ones from this summer’s sizzling heat wave is to prepare a personal summer survival kit. You can count on the experienced and highly trained staff at Senior Helpers of Santa Barbara to walk you through the necessary items needed to guarantee your loved one can live independently and safely in their home.
The heat of the summer is here and it is important to remember some vital safety tips for senior loved ones. Our elderly loved ones are typically more prone to heat related illnesses and are more susceptible to dehydration risks. Heat stroke is a very serious heat related illness and any indication of heat stroke is a medical emergency. Elderly people do not adjust as well as younger people to sudden changes in heat and may be taking prescription drugs that do not allow their body to regulate its temperature or may inhibit perspiration. It is very important to make sure that your elderly loved one is receiving the type of senior care they need, especially in the hot summer months.
When outdoors activities are planned for the day, remember to help an elderly loved one dress for the occasion. Loose-fitting, light colored clothes are best to prevent overheating. A sun visor and SPF 30 sunscreen are also helpful to avoid sunburn. Find shade or bring an umbrella whenever possible. If there is a nearby building, seek air-conditioned breaks often. Remember to keep hydrated.
Keeping a bottle of water always nearby will help a loved one to remember to keep drinking. If your loved one is not as much of a fan of water, perhaps adding some flavoring or a piece of fruit will help to make the beverage more appealing. Having juicy fruits around the house such as citrus, watermelon, cucumbers and apples will provide healthy nutrients and some hydration when consumed as well.
When caring for an elderly loved one during the hot summer months, it is important to watch for signs and symptoms of dehydration. Usually the first symptom of dehydration is dark and malodorous urine. This can also be accompanied by constipation and decreased urine output. It is not uncommon for urinary tract infections to develop over time. Another symptom of dehydration is chronic fatigue and lethargy. As dehydration develops, your loved one may develop muscle cramps due to the weakening of their muscles. Most people mistakenly associate this muscle weakness as a sign of aging, but can be corrected with rehydration. Confusion and weakness also indicate dehydration. Typically, an increase in fluid intake will relieve these symptoms. The many other signs of dehydration include headaches, sagging skin, dizziness, dry mouth, sudden problems with mobility, low blood pressure, rapid resting heart rate, irregularity in body temperature, and sunken eyes. Prolonged dehydration can cause health issues such as cardiac or renal problems. Since it is often difficult to diagnose dehydration in elderly persons in its early stages, severe dehydration frequently results in hospitalization. If left unchecked long enough, dehydration can be life threatening and can result in death. It is important for your loved one’s caregiver and family to keep a watchful eye and seek medical attention if the symptoms listed above persist beyond one or two days. You can depend on the dependable caregivers at Senior Helpers of Santa Barbara, 805-687-7777, to treat your loved one like family and to make their safety the number one priority.
The hot summer months are upon us and there is no more important time to make sure an elderly loved one is safe. Senior Helpers of Santa Barbara provides in home senior care to all areas of Santa Barbara, Goleta, Lompoc, Santa Ynez, and Carpinteria, California that will give you and your family reassurance that your elderly loved one is not over exerting themselves in the heat and that they are staying safe.