Summer is a great time for outdoor exercises and vacation.
But for older people, summer weather and activities sometimes can be challenging.
Older people react differently to hot weather than younger people, and they are more susceptible to dehydration and heat-related illnesses.
To be safe in summer, researchers from Western Connecticut Health Network suggest older people do five things.
Drinking enough water
Dehydration can lead to serious health problems, such as heat exhaustion or increased risk of a fall.
In older people, there are changes in the way the body regulates its temperature and a reduction in the amount of sweat produced.
Therefore, older people are generally more susceptible to dehydration than younger adults.
In addition, some medications, such as diuretics or cardiac medications, could make people more prone to dehydration.
Common signs of dehydration include weight loss, has very dark colored urine, is experiencing leg cramps, or is feeling weak, nauseous, fatigued, or vomiting.
To prevent dehydration, people need to drink plenty of water even if they aren’t thirsty, especially in hot weather.
They should avoid alcohol, sugary beverages, and caffeinated drinks because these can add to dehydration.
Stay in a cool place
Air conditioning (AC) is important to help people avoid dehydration and other heat-related illnesses.
AC is especially important for people with respiratory conditions like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) because heat and humidity can aggravate their breathing.
If AC at home isn’t available or effective enough during the daytime hours, it is important to go to a nearby, safe location with AC like a senior center or mall.
Protect skin and eyes from the Sun
Older people may be more sensitive to the sun than younger adults because they have thinner skin. They are more likely to have a sunburn.
Some eye conditions such as macular degeneration or cataracts may make their eyes sensitive to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays.
It is important to use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 about 30 minutes before going outside, and then reapply it about every two hours.
People also need to wear protective clothing, such as hats that shade the face and cover the head.
Light-colored, light-weight cotton fabric shirts and pants are also useful to block the sun’s rays and help seniors stay cool.
Sunglasses with UV protection lenses that are UV400 can protect eyes from UV rays.
It is also helpful to stay indoors between 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM in very hot days.
Make good plans for your trip
Sometimes traveling can be hard for people with brain diseases such as dementia. People with dementia need familiarity, repetition, and continuity of care.
it is better to go to a familiar place than to go to a new destination because a different environment can be difficult and confusing.
Wearing identification can help people find their way to the group again if they wander off.
Have a support system
A support system is incredibly important for older people, especially for those who don’t have family nearby.
This can be done as simply as getting to know your neighbors.
Older people can keep in touch with their family by sending short, daily text messages as they go about their day.
It can help their family members track their health and safety conditions.
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