As huge chunks of the continental US are in the grips of a heat wave, it’s the best time to make sure your senior loved one is ready for these high temps. The CDC has some great generalist tips, but here are some of particular interest for anyone caring for a elderly loved one.
- Set “cool off” timers. Even a simple egg timer set to 60 or 90 minutes to remind them to come in from the heat when enjoying outdoor activities, even passive ones like lounging or sitting in a pool
- Should be at least SPF 50. Aim for the less greasy types, as the oils tend to feel more prominent on older, dryer skin.
- Eye protection. Your eyes are – ironically – among the most vulnerable parts of your body to damage from intense sunlight. Sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats and even light linen hoods/wraps can do wonders to help keep their peepers safe in the summer sun.
- Limit alcoholic or caffeinated drinks in the hottest parts of the day. They can drain your body of needed electrolytes more quickly than the alternatives.
- Eat meals as normal. Sometimes the heat drains people of their appetites. But they still need those nutrients in the heat, and you may have to be more assertive than normal when it comes to meal times.
We shouldn’t force people to stay indoors full time when they don’t have to. But at the same time, medical issues can arise from excessive heat in relatively short periods of time. Spending some time speaking to your older relatives about heat safety can prevent disasters down the road.
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