8 tips to help the elderly stay safe in the heat

Help the elderly stay safe in the sun

When the temperature goes up, the elderly are more likely than others to suffer. Even healthy older people are at risk during a warm spell. Here our our 8 tips to keep loved ones safe and happy as the heat rises.

1. 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.
2. If it's really hot, spend the day in an air-conditioned venue, such as a public library or cinema. During extreme heat a fan alone won't help cool an elderly person down.
3. If you go outdoors, take along plenty of water to drink. If possible also take a small spray bottle with water for a cool-down. The elderly are at high risk of becoming dehydrated, a serious health problem. Watch out for dark urine, which may mean your older loved one needs more water.
4. Encourage them 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.
5. Make sure they wear loose-fitting clothing made from lightweight fabrics such as cotton and always put a hat on.
6. Prepare light and healthy meals that don't require cooking, such as refreshing, protein-packed salads.
7. Cover windows that are exposed to direct sun light and keep curtains, shades, and blinds down during the hottest part of the day.
8. Know the warning signs of heat stress or stroke: Instead of sweating, your elderly loved one may not sweat at all. Her skin is more likely to be dry, hot, and clammy. Other symptoms may include confusion, nausea, rapid pulse, and high body temperature.

Here are some online resources with further information on to help you: 

https://www.nutrition.org.uk/nutritionscience/life/dehydrationelderly.html

https://www.nursinginpractice.com/article/importance-maintaining-good-hydration-older-people

https://wessexahsn.org.uk/img/projects/Hydration%20toolkit%20V1.pdf

By taking minimal precautions and planning ahead, you and your older loved one can stay enjoy the good weather safely!