4 Tips for Helping Seniors to Stay Cool During Hotter Months
If you’re located in New England like we are, then you know that summer can be synonymous with insufferable heat and humidity. In fact, remaining cool can appear to be an impossible feat at times and, lately, it seems as though we trade the bitter cold of winter and transition right into summer with a very abbreviated spring and moderate autumn. However, regardless of where you’re located in the U.S., you’re likely to experience uncomfortable heat at one point or another.
It’s important to remember that seniors are more likely to be dehydrated because their bodies can’t adjust as easily or as well as younger bodies can. Dehydration can put them at risk for heat stroke and, according to the CDC, “heat-related deaths are one of the deadliest weather-related health outcomes in the United States.” Here are some useful tips for caregivers and aging adults alike about helping seniors to stay cool in hot weather…
The best thing that you can do is to help your senior be proactive about hydration. Get ahead of the potential issue by encouraging water intake regularly throughout the day versus only when feeling extra thirsty due to heat. Remaining hydrated doesn’t exclusively apply to drinking water. Make sure that your aging adult uses a washcloth to cool down parts of the body like the forehead and the back of the neck. Also, keep a pan of cool (not cold!) water handy so that they can dip their feet into it. And don’t forget about the refreshing feel of a shower or a bath - keeping the water just below body temperature is ideal.
Consume Light, Cool Foods
From salads and pasta salad to cooled fruits and vegetables like tomatoes and cucumbers to popsicles and more, there are a variety of foods that can contribute to cooling your body temperature. Hydrating foods like these can help to naturally reduce body heat.
Help your aging loved one to identify breathable clothing to remain as cool as possible. Light-colored, lightweight cotton is a good option because it’s soft, soaks up sweat and allows heat to escape the body. If you anticipate your aging loved one to be transitioning between indoors and outdoors, make sure that he or she is layered appropriately.
Create a Comfortable Environment
If your aging loved one lives in a place where the sun directly hits his or her home, especially his or her favorite room, be sure to draw the shades and close the curtains during the hottest points of the day in order to reduce the amount of heat that the home absorbs. Make sure that he or she has air conditioning installed in order to most effectively moderate temperature control. If your aging loved one is mobile, you can visit public spaces like malls or movie theaters as they tend to be nice and cool during heat waves.
Are you a caregiver with a loved one struggling from dehydration or heat exhaustion throughout the hotter months? What types of tips or solutions have you applied to make them as comfortable as possible? We’d love to hear what you have to share!
CareZare is a FREE app for family caregivers to help them manage their care team and ensure the highest level of care for their loved one.