Extremely hot weather is in the forecast for many parts of the country. If you have older family members or elderly neighbors living nearby, it is important to make sure that, as temperatures rise, they are protected from the extreme heat.
Here are some great hot weather safety tips that the elderly, as well as their caregivers, can follow to make sure they stay cool and hydrated during these hot summer months.
- Drink plenty of cool water throughout the day and avoid alcohol and caffeine. Dehydration is the root of many heat-related health problems.
- Eat cooling, hydrating snacks like popsicles, watermelon or slightly frozen grapes.
- Eat light, cold meals like chicken or pasta salad.
- Stay indoors during mid-day hours.
- Place a cool washcloth on the back of the neck and a pan of cool water close by to periodically re-cool the towel.
- Sit with feet in a pan of cool (not ice cold) water.
- Run errands or schedule appointments either before 10am or after 6pm, when the temperature tends to be cooler.
- Keep the house as cool as possible by keeping shades closed during the hottest part of the day.
- Wear layers of lightweight clothing in light-colored cotton so it’s easy to adjust to your temperature by removing or adding clothing throughout the day.
- Check with your doctor or pharmacist to make sure any medications you are taking won’t be affected by higher temperatures — especially if you don’t have air conditioning in your home. Some medications are less effective if stored at temperatures higher than room temperature (approximately 78 degrees Fahrenheit),
- Don’t overdo it. Avoid exercise and strenuous activity during extreme heat.
- Get to know your elderly neighbors. As the temperature rises, check in on them occasionally to make sure everything is all right.
- Seek public places with air conditioning. Enjoy time at a local recreation center, senior center, library, coffee shop, or shopping mall.
- Protect your eyes from harmful UV rays by wearing sunglasses. Too much exposure to the sun can irritate eyes.
- If you get overheated, take a cool shower, bath, or washcloth wipe-down.
- Know the warning signs of heat-related illness. Dizziness, nausea, headache, rapid heartbeat, chest pain, fainting and breathing problems are all warning signs that help should be sought immediately.
What hot weather tips do you have for helping our elderly population stay cool and hydrated? Comment below or join the conversation over on our Facebook page.
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