Summer is here, and with it comes plenty of sunshine and lots of opportunities for outdoor activities. For elderly people though, the intense sun and hot temperatures of summer can create the potential for health risks, meaning that they’re not able to fully experience any fun in the sun.
With that in mind, here are our seven tops tips to help individuals stay safe this summer.
1. Water, water, water
During the warm weather, many people find themselves sweating more and feeling dehydrated as the day wears on. In particular, elderly people are more likely to become dehydrated due to not being able to conserve water as efficiently as younger people. Keep a bottle of water close at hand and drink from it regularly, even if you don’t feel thirsty.
It’s important that you’re aware of your body and hydration levels. Here are key signs to look out for regarding dehydration, heat stroke and heat exhaustion:
- Confusion, dizziness or headaches (including throbbing headaches)
- Dry mouth
- Rapid heart rate
- Difficulty walking
- Low blood pressure
- Lack of/ inability to sweating
- Muscle or abdominal cramps
- Nausea, diarrhoea, or vomiting
- Shallow, rapid breathing
Try to drink isotonic beverages too, to replace the salts and potassium lost through sweat. Eating water-content foods such as fruits, vegetables and soups is also a good way to stay hydrated in the summer.
2. Dress cool
This tip is not about keeping your fashion sense in check, but rather about dressing appropriately for the heat. Wear lighter colours in comfortable, loose fabrics, such as cotton and linen. Put on a hat before going out into the sun to protect your scalp. This is particularly important for elderly individuals who perhaps have less hair than they did in their youth.
Elderly people are more likely to have sensitive eyes and may already be experiencing vision loss. Exposure to the sun’s UV rays can cause further damage, so wearing sunglasses is crucial to keeping your eyes protected.
3. Slap on the sun cream
Regardless of age, sun cream is vital as it protects your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. Apply a layer of sun cream around 30 minutes before you head out into the sun and continue to reapply every two hours. If you have fair skin, or if you have already suffered skin damage from the sun, stick to a higher SPF to keep you completely protected.
4. Keep your GP at hand
Get in touch with your GP to find out if any of your medications are affected by high temperatures. Store your medications appropriately to ensure that they don’t become unusable, and make sure you contact your GP immediately if you experience any discomfort caused by the hot weather. Always seek assistance in an emergency.
5. Time your day right
Try your best to avoid the heat and direct sunlight as much as you can. The hottest part of the day is between 11 am and 3 pm so try to time your day accordingly. If being out and about during those hours is unavoidable, make sure you wear sunglasses and a hat and do your best to stay in shaded areas.
6. Remain cool at night
The Met Office is predicting averages of 30ºC during the day and 15ºC at night. This means it is imperative you take the appropriate measures when at home during the evening as well as during the day. Use a lightweight bed sheet and thin duvet, and wear loose pyjamas to bed. Keep a glass of cold water beside your bed so you can have a sip in case you wake up during the night.
7. Healthcare at home
If you are concerned about your safety, or that of an elderly loved one, employing a carer this summer can make all the difference. A carer can ensure that you or your loved one dresses appropriately, is covered in sun cream and is drinking water regularly.
Better Healthcare Services offer a range of healthcare at home packages that are designed to help you or your elderly loved one remain safe and cared for, especially in the extreme temperatures of summer. Whether you’re looking for daily home care visits or more permanent live-in care, we can be there to support you, or your family member from the comfort of your home and ensure that you remain safe and secure this summer.
For additional information on how to beat the heat this summer, please read the NHS’s guide Beat the heat.
For more information on our home care and live-in care services, call us today on 0800 668 1234 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, get in touch with your local Better Healthcare Service office: