Summer can be an opportune time to get outdoors and enjoy nature, especially with a an aging loved one who has spent the majority of winter indoors. With nature blooming and active people in the sunshine, this time of year can be a real mood lifter for people struggling with illness and memory loss. Nothing beats a little sunshine—and that goes for anyone of any age!
However, during these hot and at times—humid—months, it’s important to remember that the aging population is more likely to encounter some problems with heat. For example, the Centers for Disease Control claim that people over the age of 65 are more likely to suffer from heat-related illness, such as heat stroke. Naturally, as a caregiver, you want to find time for your loved one to enjoy being outdoors, but also take proper precautions so they don’t overheat.
Let’s take a look at some valuable tips to help you aging loved one enjoy the summer months while also staying happy and healthy.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. This piece of advice should go for any person of any age. Make sure to consume water regularly—especially avoiding caffeine and alcohol. If you get tired of water bottles, then aim for water-packed snacks, like watermelon or frozen fruit cups.
Look for signs of heat stress. Heat stress is serious business and if you see signs and symptoms in older adults, make sure they seek medical attention. This includes breathing problems, chest pain, dizziness, nausea and headaches—among other characteristics. Educate yourself on all the heat-related symptoms you might encounter—and also educate your loved one so he or she knows the signs when they occur.
Air conditioning. This is important for older adults in the summer, so make sure your loved one has access to adequate air conditioning, not only in their living room, but at night when temperatures can be erratic.
Visit regularly. This is always true of our loved ones, but particularly during the summer months. Check in regularly to make sure they are hydrating and that their air conditioning is working. You are the window into their well-being, so remember that when you check in!