When the temperature goes up, the elderly are more likely than others to suffer. Even the healthy ones are at risk during a warm spell. By taking minimal precautions and planning ahead, you and your elderly loved one can stay enjoy the good weather safely!
- Encourage your elderly loved one to drink plenty of fluids, up to eight glasses throughout the day, to stay hydrated. Keep a full glass or a bottle of water within easy reach and prompt them to sip continuously.
- If it's really hot, spend the day in an air-conditioned venue, such as a public library, Day Centre or cinema. During extreme heat a fan won't help cool an elderly person down.
- If you must go outdoors, take along plenty of water to drink. If possible also take a small spray bottle with water for a spritzy cool-down. The elderly are at high risk of becoming dehydrated, a serious health problem. Watch out for dark urine, which may mean your senior needs more water.
- Encourage your elderly loved one to take a cool (not cold) bath or give her/him a sponge bath. If outdoors, apply a cold wet towel compress to her/his face and neck.
- Make sure your loved one wears loose-fitting clothing made from lightweight fabrics such as cotton, plus a hat. But bring along a sweater if you're going somewhere air conditioned.
- Prepare light and healthy meals that don't require cooking, such as refreshing, protein-packed salads.
- Cover windows that are exposed to direct sun light and keep curtains, shades, and blinds down during the hottest part of the day.
- Know the warning signs of heat stress or stroke: Instead of sweating, your elderly loved one may not sweat at all. Their skin is more likely to be dry, hot, and clammy. Other symptoms may include confusion, nausea, rapid pulse, and high body temperature. If you're concerned, don't hesitate to call 999!