For millions of Americans, summertime is synonymous with outside activities: trips to the beach, visiting parks, and backyard barbecues. Did you know with rising summer temperatures, however, senior adults face elevated risks of heat-related health issues? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are three main reasons why:
- Older adults do not adjust as well as young people to sudden changes in temperature.
- Seniors are more likely to have chronic medical conditions that change normal body responses to heat.
- Aging adults are more likely to take prescription medicines that affect the body’s ability to control its temperature or sweat.
With this in mind, let us proactively share five tips for helping aging parents beat the heat this summer.
- Keep Them Cool. Staying cool doesn’t just mean staying inside in air conditioned spaces. It also means planning wisely. Rather than risk sun exposure during the hottest parts of the day, schedule appointments and outside excursions for early mornings or late evenings.
- Hydration, Hydration, Hydration. Consuming ample fluids is one of the best things seniors can do during the summer. Hotter temperatures cause sweating, and Older Americans may already have a reduced capacity to conserve water. Make sure senior loved ones are drinking water even if they don’t feel thirsty and help them plan to pack a water bottle when they leave the house during the summer months.
- Dress for Success. Loose-fitting, light-colored clothes can help keep intense sunlight from damaging skin and keep the body cool. Hats that shade head and neck areas are also important, as is proper footwear. Sandals and flip-flops may be enticing, but use caution as they can also present tripping hazards.
- Plan Inside Activities. There are plenty of rewarding indoor activities that won’t leave senior parents feeling like they’re missing out on summer fun. Museums, movies, libraries, theaters, and musical performances, are just a few exciting, and air conditioned, adventures.
- Check on Them Regularly. It’s always a good idea to check-in on aging parents, but all the more so during hot summer months. Make sure their living spaces are cool, and monitor their exposure to sunlight and heat. When possible, schedule a standing time to check-in during the week.
We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. There is never a wrong time to get the help your aging parents or you may need. We encourage you to reach out to us and schedule an appointment to ask your elder care questions. Whether it is this summer or throughout the year, we are here to help.
For more information on how to help your family attend one of our free Trust, Estate and Asset Protection Workshops.