Dangers that Summer Can Pose on Elders

The hot scorching days of summer have arrived and temperatures are at the peak already. Certainly, it is this time of the year which most people eagerly look forward to enjoyment and outdoor activities. The warmth of sunshine and idea of spending long vacations with family and friends is indeed attractive. Yet, this perceived concept of fun in the sun can cause serious health issues, particularly for the elderly.

With aging, one must essentially be aware of the probable health risks which are related to age and changing seasons. While people of all ages are prone to such issues, seniors are more susceptible. This is more so, because of the following risk factors:
  • The body of elders does not adapt itself quickly to sudden temperature variations. This happens due to poor circulation, inefficient sweat glands and changes in the skin caused by the aging process.
  • Elders are more likely to have chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney diseases or high sugar and blood pressure levels. This impedes normal body responses to heat.
  • Most elders are under prescribed medications like diuretics, tranquilizers and sedatives. These drugs impair the body’s ability to regulate temperature and prevent sweating.
  • Consumption of alcoholic beverages and being overweight or underweight increases health hazards.
Additionally, seniors may suffer from dehydration, heat stroke or heat exhaustion in summer.  Therefore, they are likely to face certain health issues which need attention and closing monitoring. This makes Senior Care a crucial aspect to ensure that contingencies are well taken care of. By choosing options of Assisted Living Facility or Senior Living Homes after retirement, elders can ensure that they lead a healthy and peaceful lifestyle. They can simultaneously enjoy  benefits of complete independence with socialisation and adequate support for daily activities and health concerns when called for.

Elderly Summer Precautions
  • Closely watching the weather forecast and making indoor plans for hotter days.
  • Keeping the homes cool with good air circulation by using air-conditioners, ceiling or pedestal fans. Windows exposed to sunlight may be covered with shades during days and opened at nights for good ventilation.
  • Ensuring proper maintenance of air conditioners and other such devices. Having backups if required.
  •  Dressing appropriately in loose fitting clothes, natural fabrics like cotton or linen and using lighter shades to avoid sunlight absorption.
  • Staying indoors largely. Avoid venturing out during peak sunny hours (typically 10 am to 3 pm).
  • Limiting strenuous physical activities and taking periodic breaks while exercising.
  • Staying in regular touch with family and friends and seeking help when needed as high temperatures can be life-threatening!
  • Using sunblock aids when going outdoors for protecting the skin. Sunscreen lotions, sunglasses, umbrellas and hats may be used for this purpose. 

Summer Health Tips for Seniors
  • Remain hydrated by consuming plenty of fluids. It is important to avoid alcoholic and caffeinated drinks like soda, coffee and alcohol.
  • Consume foods and beverages with sodium and potassium for maintaining electrolyte balance when body fluids are lost. Natural fruits and vegetables, soups, broths, juices and sports drinks contain these vital electrolytes.
  • Periodically take cool showers or baths.
  • Be aware of hypothermia (body over-heating) symptoms and risks. Keep the emergency list of contacts handy and accessible for seeking medical attention. 
  • Consult your physician regarding correct storage of medicines and preventable illnesses for the hot season.
  • Do indoor exercises as walking on a treadmill or age-appropriate gym workouts. Swimming and water aerobics are also good alternatives.
  • For long distance summer travel, you may choose safe Non-Emergency Medical Transportation(NEMT). This ensures health needs and medical emergencies are taken care of.

By taking precautions, elders can definitely beat the heat to evade summer dangers!


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