With summer just around the corner, it is important to watch your senior loved one extra closely at the retirement community. Seniors are more sensitive to hot weather and at greater risk of heat stroke. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, older people may have a chronic disease or take medicine that prevents the body from regulating its temperature. Here are six summer safety tips for seniors:
Be aware of your loved one's medications
Certain medications, such as tetracyclines, sulfur compounds and thiazide diuretics, can cause seniors to get sunburned easier. Before the temperatures get too hot, AgingCare.com recommends asking your loved one's health care provider if it is OK for your senior family member to be out in the sun. If your loved one does go outside, make sure he or she puts on plenty of sunscreen and wears protective clothing.
Monitor your family member's water intake
When the temperatures are scorching hot, make sure your senior family member drinks plenty of water throughout the day. Since he or she can't conserve water as well as younger people, they may become dehydrated easily. Have your family member drink at least eight glasses of water a day.
"Certain medications can cause seniors to get sunburned easier."
Don't forget about sunglasses
Since vision loss is quite common among older people, you should always remind your family member to put on sunglasses before he or she heads out the door. A pair of sunglasses will protect your loved one's eyes from the damaging effects of the sun's ultraviolet rays.
Cool your loved one down with wet washcloths
If your senior family member looks overheated, cool him or her down with a wet washcloth. Apply the washcloth to the wrists, underarms, ankles and neck. Doing this will reduce your loved one's body temperature and help him or her feel better.
Limit alcoholic and caffeinated beverages
Alcohol and caffeinated drinks, like coffee and soda, can dehydrate the body, so your senior loved one should limit these beverages as much as possible. If your family member gets bored with drinking water, try adding a lemon or lime to it.
Exercise in the morning or evening
Regular physical activity is beneficial for a senior's physical and emotional well-being. However, if your family member exercises outdoors when the sun is at its hottest, it can be dangerous. Offer to exercise with your loved one in the early morning or evening.