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As summer rolls in, people can look forward to longer hours, brighter days and hotter weather. For seniors, this season presents a number of serious health concerns. Too much sun exposure and excess heat can lead to problems like dehydration, skin damage, fatigue and even heat stroke among other things. Fortunately, there are a several things both family and professional Tracy caregivers can do to keep elderly both active and safe throughout this time of the year.
1. Talk with Your Loved One’s Doctor
In order to determine the best level of sun protection and the best time for outings, talk with your senior family member’s doctor about the different medications he or she is taking and the side effects they entail. Some prescription drugs can make seniors much more sensitive to heat and far more likely to get sunburned. Knowing what the risks are will help you schedule his or her days accordingly.
2. Keep Water on Hand at All Times
For seniors, the best way to stay hydrated is by constantly sipping on water throughout the day. Rather than pushing your loved one to gulp down large glasses of water all at once, try to keep water handy for them to sip regularly instead. Thirst is the first sign of dehydration and seniors are more likely to suffer from this issue when taking medications.
3. Schedule Outings Early
Encourage family members to get things done as early in the day as possible during the summer. Doctor visits and dental appointments should be scheduled and completed before noon. If social outings or other events are planned, try to schedule these during the twilight hours. The morning and evening hours are the best times to take short walks and relax on the porch, whereas afternoons should be spent inside.
4. Check Your Loved One’s Home
If your senior family member is aging in place with help from an hourly caregiver in Tracy, have his or her HVAC system checked to ensure it is in good working order. Your loved one and his or her caregiver should also have a feasible backup plan should this unit fail. This can include a portable air conditioning unit, cooling fans or plans to temporarily take shelter in a family member’s home, senior center, or local cooling center.
5. Consider Indoor UV Ray Exposure
Seniors do not have to go outside in order to sustain skin damage from the sun’s harmful UV rays. While your loved one might be tempted to open the blinds wide and let the natural light in, recommend window treatments with UV protection and stress the importance of minimizing exposure to the sun, even while indoors.
6. Choose Lightweight and Loose-Fitting Clothing
Seniors should be dressed in lightweight, loose-fitting clothes throughout the summer. Garments made from synthetic fabrics and synthetic fabric blends are more likely to trap heat and moisture close to the body. All-natural fabrics, however, such as cotton and linen, will allow for good airflow and can even wick excess moisture away from the skin.
For more information on senior safety, reach out to Home Care Assistance. We are a leading provider of senior home care in Tracy, and our qualified caregivers can help your loved one have a safe, healthy, and enjoyable summer. Call (209) 650-8500 to learn more about our customized live-in and hourly care services and find the plan right for your loved one.