The summer can be fun, but when the temperatures start to climb into the high 80s and 90s, it can make anyone uncomfortable. That’s why it’s important to be aware that older men and women are more susceptible to heat stress and heat stroke during the hot summer months.
As we age, we lose the ability to perspire and regulate our body temperature, so older people don’t feel heat the same anymore and can tend to overdress. Also, older skin becomes thin and offers less protection from the sun.
Caregiver.org offers a number of tips to help the elderly stay cool during and avoid heat-related emergencies.
Wear cool clothing: Be sure the elderly wear cool clothing, including light-weight, loose-fitting clothing. Natural fabrics like cotton are best. Use hats and umbrellas to protect you from the sun when you are outside.
Use air conditioning: Air conditioning should be kept on below 80 degrees F. Or fans should be used to circulate air. Even taking an elderly person to an air-conditioned place like a library, mall, or restaurant can offer some relief from the heat of the day.
Food and drink in the summer: The elderly should be encouraged to drink plenty of fluids, even if they say they are not thirsty. Avoid tea and alcohol. Avoid hot, heavy meals and don’t use the oven.
Check in often: If the elderly person lives alone, check in daily or ask a neighbor to check in several times a day.
Be alert: A cognitively-impaired person, such as an older man or woman with dementia, may not be able to express that he or she is feeling hot or ill. Remember that older people may not be able to feel the heat and may not be away of the dangers of hot weather.
We hope these tips help you to keep your loved ones cool during the heat of the summer!