Beat the Heat: Summer Safety Tips for Seniors
It’s mid-August here at The Storage Inn in Egg Harbor Township New Jersey, and although we are in the midst of a heatwave, our storage facility is as busy as ever, with storage customers out and about, occasionally stopping into the rental office for a complimentary bottle of cold spring water!
Today, one of our most senior customers, Beatrice (age 87), stopped in for a bottle of water on her way back to her storage unit.
“ Hello Beatrice – Hot one today !”, I proclaimed as I handed her a bottle of ice cold water.
“Sure is – you know it’s hot when the temperature is higher than my age!” she quipped.
We had the usual conversation about the heat, and how we would be complaining about the cold soon enough. Beatrice smiled and waved goodbye as she headed to her car. This made me think… How would I handle the heat at age 87?
Here are some helpful hot weather tips for seniors!
Elderly individuals have a harder time knowing when they are dehydrated, so, they are more prone to heat stroke.Seniors also lose the ability to conserve water as they age. Avoid drinks containing caffeine and alcohol, as they will further dehydrate you.
Loose-fitting and light-colored clothes will keep you cool and not absorb as much heat from the sun. It’s best to wear breathable fabrics, such as cotton, to help regulate your temperature. A broad hat and sunglasses will keep the sun’s rays out of your face and eyes.
This is especially pertinent for seniors, as many prescription medications make your skin more sensitive to the sun. Applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher will help you avoid sunburn.
Stay out of the sun
Check the forecast and avoid prolonged time in the sun, especially on days where the temperature reaches above 90 degrees. Try to plan any outside activities for the early morning or in twilight hours after the sun sets.
Spend time in air-conditioned places
If you want to get out of the house while avoiding the heat (or if your house isn’t air-conditioned), look for activities in spots with AC. Go see a movie with the grandkids, or read a book at the library. A walk around the mall or a class at your local senior center are great ways to get exercise indoors.
Know when to cool down
If you’re feeling heated, take a tepid (not too hot or cold) bath or shower to cool down. You can also use cool washcloths on the neck, wrist, and armpits. Seniors are at a higher risk of heat-related illnesses. Poor circulation, heart disease, high blood pressure, and the inability to perspire due to certain medications present further complications.
HEAT RELATED WARNING SIGNS
|Health Problem||Definition||Warning Signs|
|Dehydration||A loss of water in the body||Weakness, headache, muscle cramps, dizziness, confusion, passing out|
|Heat Stroke||Dangerous rise in body temperature||Temperature of 103 or higher; red, hot, dry skin; fast pulse; headache; dizziness; nausea or vomiting; confusion; passing out|
|Heat Exhaustion||Caused by too much heat and dehydration and may lead to heat stroke||Heavy sweating or no sweating, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, paleness, cold or clammy skin, dizziness, headache, nausea or vomiting, fast and weak pulse, fainting|
|Heat Syncope||Fainting caused by high temperatures||Dizziness or fainting|
In summary, seniors should protect themselves from the summer heat by staying hydrated, staying cool, and, if you must go outside – dress appropriately and wear sunscreen!
Thanks for taking the time to read this post! The staff here at The Storage Inn will continue to do our part by offering our storage customers free cold spring water, and a chance to cool off in our complimentary, air-conditioned tenant office area. Happy Heatwave everyone – stay safe!