It’s hot out!
That’s no secret this time of year, especially in Florida, but it bears extra repeating if you are a senior or if you are caring for a senior. Those over age 65 are more prone to heat-related problems, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Here’s why:
- Older people more frequently have chronic health conditions that affect the body’s response to heat.
- Prescription medicines could affect body temperature or the ability to sweat (which is one way the body cools itself down).
- It’s harder for those who are older to adjust to temperature changes.
Due to the pandemic this year, the use of face masks in hotter weather could make it harder for some seniors to tolerate heat if they are in a hot environment and wearing the mask.
Here are some tips to help seniors better manage the heat and to help avoid problems such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
1. Keep your house cool. Use your air conditioning to keep down the temperature or if that’s not possible, use fans. Other ways to keep your house cooler include limiting your use of the oven, keeping your shades and curtains closed in the middle of the day, and opening your windows at night, according to the National Institute on Aging. If staying cool in your home is still a struggle, contact your local Department of Health for help or ideas on other places where you can stay cool.
2. Stay hydrated. Water and fruit or vegetable juices are the best choices to help keep you hydrated. Alcohol and caffeine don’t have the same effect. Sip water throughout the day instead of just waiting until you are thirsty, the CDC advises. However, it’s also important to check with your doctor about any limitations on liquids due to medications you might use.
3. Use a shower, bath, or sponge to help cool down.
4. If you exercise outside, limit it to earlier or later in the day versus at the hottest parts of the day.
5. Wear lightweight, light-colored cotton clothing.
6. If you are in a setting where you must wear a face mask, have an extra one available. That way, you can swap it out if one gets sweaty. Also, if the mask makes you feel hotter, find a time when you can take a break from wearing it.
7. Know the symptoms of a heat-related illness. These can include a headache, muscle cramps, nausea, or vomiting. Contact a doctor if you or someone you care for has these symptoms. There are different ways that the heat could make a person feel ill, including:
- Heat syncope, which is when you feel dizzy in the heat.
- Heat cramps, which is when the muscles tighten up due to the heat.
- Heat edema, or swelling of the legs and feet due to heat.
- Heat exhaustion, referring to when the body can no longer keep itself cool.
- Heatstroke, which is a medical emergency. Symptoms include fainting, a change in behavior, a body temperature of 104 F, and dry skin. Those who are dehydrated and who have chronic diseases are at a higher risk for heatstroke.
Call Secure Aging to Find Out How We Can Help Seniors With Care Management
At Secure Aging in Bradenton, we transform the weight of the world into a sigh of relief for our senior clients and their concerned family members. The mission of Secure Aging is to protect and preserve our client’s independence and dignity through careful and thoughtful financial and care management. As our clients’ age, it is their desire to remain independent and age with dignity. Our services protect our clients from talented con artists looking to exploit and deplete the financial resources of our vulnerable seniors. Secure Aging helps families in Manatee County and Sarasota County and in and around the communities of Anna Maria, Bradenton, Bradenton Beach, Ellenton, Holmes Beach, Lakewood Ranch, Longboat Key, Myakka City, Palmetto, Parrish, and Sarasota. Call us at 941-761-9338, or visit us online at www.secureaging.com.