Senior Safety in Heat and Humidity

Summer might be winding down, but we still have some hot and humid days to get through before Autumn begins. Outdoor activities are always a highlight during these dog days of summer, especially for seniors who enjoy socializing, cookouts, gardening, and other activities. We always advise taking some simple and common-sense precautions to keep seniors and other loved ones safe from the effects of too-much sun and heat. 

While we normally focus on making the indoors safer, The Oakley Home Access team is pleased to share some tips that we’ve compiled to help make summer as safe as it is fun!

Dress For The Weather

Loose-fitting, lightweight, and light-colored clothing is a must to be cool and comfortable. Cottons, linens, and other natural fibers are a better choice than polyester or synthetic fabrics. Sunhats and other wide-brimmed headgear are also great choices to keep the sun off faces. 

In the vein of appropriate dressing, sunscreen counts as part of the wardrobe. With Seniors having thinner skin, sunburns are common and their skin needs extra care and higher SPF of at least 30 and be mindful that time in the water or sweating means that the sunscreen must be re-applied frequently.

Sunglasses are also important to mitigate eye irritation or vision damage when outside. 

Stay Indoors in Extreme Heat

During a heat wave with life-threatening high temperatures Seniors need to have a safe place to stay cool. Encourage your loved ones to use their AC if they have it, ensure there are fans available, or even invite them to your air conditioned home to relax and visit (great for socializing also!) If none of these are options, Senior Centers or libraries might be advised as a place to spend the day until the high heat of the day has passed.

Encourage your loved ones to exercise, garden, or do other outdoor activities first thing in the morning or later in the evening.

Stay Hydrated

Be aware that Seniors can be prone to dehydration for a variety of reasons, whether from diuretics or other medications. Check pill bottles for any warnings about sun exposure also. Seniors might have a decreased sense of thirst so encourage them to drink even if they are not thirsty. The general rule is eight glasses of water or electrolyte sports drinks each day. Alcoholic and caffeinated beverages may cause dehydration, so decreasing or altogether removing their consumption might be the best choice. If your loved ones exercise, encourage them to hydrate more often.

Learn the signs of heat stroke and pay attention to your loved ones. If they complain of headache, confusion, nausea, or high temperature, call 911 or seek other emergency care immediately. Heat stroke is life-threatening, especially for Seniors.

Keep the Pests At Bay 

While we may feel that bugs and outdoor pests are simply a nuisance, to the elderly they can be a much bigger problem. Aging brings about weakened immune systems and even a simple mosquito bite can mean infection. A good bug spray and avoiding the times of day when insects and other vectors are out are great ways to decrease the risk. 

We hope these tips and ideas are helpful. We understand the nuances of caring for aging loved ones and know that this responsibility remains throughout the year.

Oakley Home Access is here to assist with all of your aging in place, mobility, and home modification needs. Come see our showroom at 322 S. Pier Road in Narragansett RI or contact us for your Free Home Safety Assessment.