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Summer Safety tips for the elderly

Keeping elderly safe in summer

High temperatures and the scorching sun are a challenge for everyone. And for the elderly, the warm weather that we have seen over the past couple of weeks can pose a particular threat to their health and even their lives.

That is why it is important to prepare for the hot weather days and know what to do if it turns into a longer spell of summer heat.

The recent hot spell got us thinking about some of the things to consider when looking after elderly relatives during the summer months.

Risks to the elderly during the summer months

Higher temperatures during the summer months can affect elderly people quite considerably as their defence mechanisms against heat i.e. sweating and breathing become less effective. Over time our respiratory system, a weaker heart and the atrophy of our sweat glands all contribute to being less able to cope with heat.

Some of the basic risks to the elderly during the summer include:-

Dehydration

Body dehydration can be extremely dangerous to the elderly. It can manifest itself with a reduction in kidney function, fatigue, headaches, dizziness and nausea. As well as an increase in body temperature and increase in heart and breathing rate.

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke or overheating of the body can be another serious risk to elderly people. It can cause unconsciousness and even loss of life.

Typical symptoms include:-

Increase in blood pressure

The hot weather can have an impact on your blood pressure. The average normal body temperature is around 37 °C but can vary from person to person. During hot weather as your body temperature rises then so can your blood pressure.

Top tips for keeping elderly people safe during the summer months:-

Keep hydrated

An obvious one to consider, but clearly one of the most important. If you don’t take in in sufficient fluids during the day it can be dangerous for anyone, and the elderly are no different.

An adult should consume 2 to 3 litres of drinks on hot days. It is important that the fluids are administered in small doses – little and often is the recommended approach. Apart from water, cool fruit teas without sugar and natural fruit juices diluted with water and electrolyte preparations dedicated to the elderly are a good option.

Try and avoid caffeinated and alcoholic drinks which can lead to quicker dehydration. The best thing to do is stick to plain water wherever possible.

Keep your house and room cool

Elderly people often spend lots of times at home, perhaps even in one single room. So it is important to ensure that space is as cool as possible.

You can do this by:

Wear appropriate clothing

If the weather is hot then make sure you’re wearing appropriate clothing. Tips for this include:

Consider any medication you are taking

Take care with any medication you are taking from stop firstly, make sure they’re not going to cause any hill effects in the heat but also importantly that you are keeping them stored in a safe place that is not exposed to extreme heat which may compromise them or make them degrade more quickly.

If you have any concerns about how you may react to your medication in the heat, then you should consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Taking care with exercise

Something to be wary of as an elderly person during the summer months is overexerting yourself. It’s important to stay active of course but be extremely careful not to exercise too much in the heat, especially the extreme heat.

Use UV sunscreen

The sun is generally strongest between 10am and 5pm, so if you do need to leave the house with an elderly relative then it is a good idea to use UV sunscreen. Use a high UV value sun block as elderly people’s thin skin is more prone to irritation and sunburn.
Schoolchildren are well versed in the saying “slip – slop – slap”. Slip on a shirt, slop on some sun block and slap on a hat

 

If you have any questions or concerns about keeping you or an elderly friend or relative safe during the warmer summer months, then one of our Weymouth care home team would be happy to chat to you and answer any questions you may have.

Feel free to call Peter Fry on 01305 78 78 11.

My grandmother is extremely happy at Friary House. The staff are hardworking, kind, caring and always smiling. As a family, we feel comfort knowing our grandmother/mother is safe and happy. At Friary House, the team are exceptional. Thank you!

Megan M

Our commitment to your safe care

Throughout the pandemic we have been advised by the Department of Health, The Care Quality Commission, Public Health England, and our dedicated GP. This has ensured our ability to give the maximum protection to those who have made their home with Friary Care, our staff and their families. All our staff and residents have been offered the Covid-19 vaccine and we are looking to the future with a much easier heart.

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