Triple-digit temperatures are prevalent in many parts of the country. In Michigan, heat and humidity are constant reminders that the dog days of summer are here to stay. Because winters are long and cold, it makes sense that seniors and older adults want to soak up the sun and get out of doors as often as possible when summer arrives. We have put together a list of how seniors can stay safe in the heat: 4 tips.
At American House Senior Living, we understand that, but we also offer advice on how seniors can stay safe in the heat, along with 4 tips to prevent heat stroke or heat exhaustion.
As we get older, our body’s ability to respond and protect us from summer heat diminishes. Senior citizens and older people are at a higher risk of suffering a heat-related illness in the sweltering summer months.
How Seniors Can Stay Safe In The Heat: 4 Tips
A condition called hyperthermia is a collection of heat-related illnesses that include:
- Heat stroke
- Heat exhaustion
- Heat edema (when your feet and ankles swell because of the heat)
- Heat cramps
Experts from the National Institute on Aging explain older adults are more prone to these heat-related illnesses because:
- There are age-related changes that happen in our bodies that include poor blood circulation and sweat glands that operate more inefficiently.
- They suffer underlying heart and lung diseases that lead to general weakness.
- Older adults who have high blood pressure are at an elevated risk of heat-related illnesses.
- The consumption of alcoholic beverages can lead to dehydration. It could be compounded by being dehydrated in a general sense because older adults may not drink as much water as is necessary to keep them healthy.
- Many older adults take medications to treat different health conditions, and these can lead to possible heat-related problems.
- Lifestyle factors include living in a house or apartment without adequate ventilation or air conditioning. They also include overdressing for the weather and not being cognizant of how to respond to heat-related issues arising.
How can you protect yourself or your loved one from injuries or health problems because of heat and humidity?
The older adult professionals at American House Senior Living in Michigan offer these tips:
- Stay indoors on the hottest and most humid days. Stay inside the house during the hottest parts of the day. If you go outdoors, wear protection from the heat like a hat or long-sleeved, light-colored, loose clothing. Stay in the shade. Consider using an umbrella to protect yourself from the heat of the sun’s rays.
- Exercise during the coolest parts of the day – early morning or early evening. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids when you’re exercising.
- Stay in an air-conditioned space. When you choose an apartment at any of our American House Senior Living communities, you are assured an air-conditioned apartment. Our gathering spaces are also air-conditioned to keep our older adults cool and comfortable. If you are aging in place and don’t have access to air-conditioned living, open windows during the coolest parts of the day and use fans to circulate the air. When the sun gets hotter, close the curtains and keep the fans running to help cool you and your house.
- Drink plenty of water. There is nothing more refreshing than water. You can enjoy it with ice or without. If you want to give your water a flavor boost, consider putting a pitcher of water in the refrigerator and dropping in some cucumber, lemon, or lime slices. Add some blueberries or strawberries for added color and flavor. Stay away from caffeinated beverages or alcohol, as they can lead to dehydration.
High body temperatures, lack of sweating, dry, flushed skin, fainting and confusion are a few of the signs of heat stroke or heat exhaustion.
Here are a few more tips for how seniors can stay safe in the heat
What should you do if you feel yourself or a loved one suffering these symptoms?
- Move them to a cooler space.
- Put cool cloths on their foreheads, wrists and on their armpits.
- Give them cool water to drink.
- Turn on fans to get a cross breeze going and encourage them to sit down and relax in the cool space.
- Call 911 if you suspect or are concerned about heat stroke.
Give us a call today, schedule a tour and consider making American House your new “home sweet home.” Escape the heat and make new friends in our senior living community!
American House was founded in 1979 to enrich the lives of seniors and their loved ones in an environment that fosters independence, compassion, quality services and meaningful relationships. We provide a wide range of senior living options, including independent living, independent living with assistance, memory care services provided by a third party, respite stays and hospice in Dearborn Heights, Farmington Hills, Rochester Hills, Sterling Heights and Westland.
Call an American House Senior Living community near you today to schedule a tour of one of our beautiful facilities and ask questions to help put your mind at ease if you’re considering a move for an aging loved one, spouse or even for yourself.