Learning what it takes in preventing heat injuries among the elderly can mean the difference between life and death. Summer means longer days, going to the beach, unexpected afternoon thundershowers, backyard baseball pick-up games – all the stuff of timeless childhood memories. But summer heat can sometimes be intense and unrelenting, and for the elderly, this can lead to unexpected heat injuries which can have serious consequences.
Taking Preventive Measures
It is important to remember that most seniors can no longer eliminate heat as they used to when they were younger. Because of this, heat tends to accumulate in their bodies over time. In the summer, when there can be consecutive days with temperatures going over 100 degrees, it is advisable to check in on the seniors in your life regularly throughout the day. Make sure they are staying indoors in an air-conditioned environment, drinking plenty of liquids, and keeping as active as they can without over exerting themselves.
If they do not have air-conditioning, bring them to a nearby climate-controlled environment during the hottest times of the day. A mall will do just fine. Walk around with them a little; it does not have to be a strenuous activity – just enough to get their blood circulating and their muscles moving.
If you cannot take time off from work to do this, call them as often as you can during the day. But be mindful not to call during the time when you know they will be napping. Preventing heat injuries among the elderly requires getting adequate rest is vital in helping them cope with the weather. When you do talk to them, remind them to drink plenty of fluids, stay in front of a fan, and take cold showers if needed. Inquire about programs for seniors from your local municipality and see what they have to offer in terms of keeping tabs on them during the hot summer months.
Vigilance is key when monitoring the health of the elderly during the dog days of summer. With proper attention and by closely following a few simple steps, there is no reason why the elderly cannot enjoy the lazy days of summer just as they did when they were children – without the pick-up baseball games, of course.