This is the season of heat advisories and air-quality alerts that can chase older people and anybody with a breathing condition into the sanctuary of their home. When just crossing a parking lot or going to the mailbox is exhausting, it makes sense to hunker down during the worst of it. And that can create a kind of summer version of the cabin fever associated with winter.
It makes sense to pay attention to weather and air-quality forecasts, but it’s also wise to accommodate them in a way that doesn’t increase isolation among our older loved ones and their caregivers.
Here are 5 summer heat tips to make sure your elderly loved ones stay safe this season.
Make Life Easier for the Elderly During the Summer
1. Stay hydrated.
People of all ages are susceptible to forgetting this one. We're all at risk of dehydration in the hottest months, so try carrying a refillable water bottle with you. During meals, avoid carbonated and caffeinated beverages, and eat fruits full of water (watermelon is a great choice!).
2. Avoid spending the afternoon outside.
People in the hottest climates long ago learned to tailor their daily schedule around the hottest times of day. By moving afternoon activities to the evening, we can still get the social interaction we all need without exposing the vulnerable to unnecessary health risks.
3. Take advantage of cool early mornings.
Evenings, of course, can be challenging for some seniors, so also consider moving appointments or shopping trips to the morning hours, when the air is still cooler and your loved one may be fresher.
4. Open your blinds.
During those afternoons indoors, make sure you’re letting in as much natural light as possible. Our brains and bodies need the cues from sunlight to keep our circadian rhythms in balance.
5. Liven up the place.
Bring some of the outdoors inside with fresh flowers, and with fruits and vegetables that let us experience the positive side of the long, hot summer and are always healthier alternatives to processed food.
Foster Health and Well-Being
They say everybody complains about the weather but nobody does anything about it. But by working with the elements, we all can avoid isolation and maintain the active lifestyles that foster health and well-being.
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