For seniors, regulating body temperature can be tough. These individuals often have chronic medical conditions, which make them more vulnerable to heat. Therefore, the summer season can prove to be extremely difficult for the older generation.

Senior citizens are vulnerable to hyperthermia diseases, which can result in headaches, nausea, muscle spasms, and extreme fatigue. Therefore, it is imperative for the caretakers to devise an effective strategy to keep their loved ones safe and protected in the summer season. If you are looking for ways to keep seniors cool in the summer, you can refer to our go-to guide by My Nurse Family home care.

Keep them hydrated

Staying hydrated during the summer is essential. If you are caring for an older person, make sure that they drink at least nine to thirteen cups of water in a day. You can download a water drinking reminder application on your smartphone, or you can set an alarm on your digital devices. This will ensure that your loved one stays hydrated and comfortable during the summers. 

Restrict the intake of caffeine and alcohol

The intake of caffeine or alcohol can be counter the effects of drinking water. If your loved ones have a habit of consuming too much coffee or alcohol, it is imperative to restrict or limit their usage. As alcohol is diuretic, its combination with the summer sun can cause any person to lose their bodily fluids twice as quickly. While a youthful body is able to recover from this loss, the body of a senior may find it difficult to restore its equilibrium. Therefore, it is essential to keep alcohol and coffee hidden away, at least until the summer ends! 

Encourage showers, baths or sponge baths

Showers are a great way to stabilize the body’s temperature. However, in order to ensure this balance, it is crucial to draw up a warm bath, instead of a cold shower. The ideal temperature for a warm shower, in the summer, is 33⁰C. While taking a cold shower provides instant relief, it also has the capability to increase the core temperature. This is because the human body responds more to the changes in skin temperature, in contrast to the temperature of the core. Therefore, when the cold water makes contact with the skin, the blood flow decreases, which leads to a fall in the skin’s temperature. Hence, there is instant relief. However, in doing so, the heat remains trapped inside the body, which increases the core temperature. As a result, the body temperature rises. Taking this into account, the best option is to offer warm showers, baths or sponge baths to your loved one.

Cover them with a flexible ice blanket

A flexible ice blanket can also be used to regulate body temperature. You can create an effective ice blanket by layering down towels and covering it with ice packs. If you are taking this initiative, it is crucial to avoid the direct contact of the ice packs with the skin. It is imperative for you to maintain the ideal balance between the collection of towels and the cold temperature of the ice. If the towels are too thick, you could transfer more heat to the body, whereas, if the layering is on the thinner side, you could risk the health of a senior citizen. Therefore, while creating an ice blanket, test out the thickness of the towels to ensure that they provide the perfect temperature to combat the heat.

Turn on the air conditioning

Surviving the summer season without air conditioning is tough for a person of any age. However, for seniors, it can be twice as difficult. Taking this into account, if you have air conditioning at home, make sure to turn it on. It’s also a great idea to have extra fans around the house, in case the air conditioner breaks or they need an extra burst of air. A paper fan is a great way to stay cool when running errands, and it fits right inside a purse or bag! This will ensure that loved ones remain free from any heat-related illnesses, throughout the hot weather.

Make sure they wear light clothing

Clothing can make a huge difference in the body’s climate. During the hot weather, make sure that your loved ones are dressed in loose, lightweight clothing. Some of the most breathable fabric choices can include cotton, linen, rayon and denim. In addition to carefully choosing the fabric, you must also take the degree of comfort into account. For instance, clothing items, such as shorts with elastic waistbands, tank tops and loose-fitting T-shirts can be ideal for the hot weather.

Serve lighter meals

The body’s temperature can also be regulated by the meals being consumed. We recommend serving colder and lighter meals, to maintain an equilibrium in the body’s temperature. For instance, instead of serving up a pot roast, you can replace it with a chicken salad or a cold turkey sandwich. Additionally, for snack time, you can serve colder food items, such as popsicles, fresh fruits and yogurts. Make sure you pair these snacks with a cold glass of water!

Keep the room cooler

Maintaining a cooler temperature in your house is important. You must take all measures to ensure that your loved one’s bedroom remains cooler than the rest of the house. To achieve this objective, you can alter some of the design elements of the room. For instance, if you want to create a dark and cooler atmosphere, you can hang up window blinds. It is important to choose a pastel color, as darker shades can attract heat energy. Additionally, you can line the bed with cotton bedsheets and add fans or humidifiers to distribute the cold air throughout the room.

Take an outing with a loved one

The hot weather shouldn’t trap seniors in an air-conditioned room. There are numerous summer activities and recreational centers for senior citizens that are designed to cater to their individual needs. Although many places are closed due to COVID-19, check with your local community rec center to see what they have to offer. There are also many activities that you can do around town that practice safe social distancing, like taking a walk around the neighborhood! If you have a caregiver with a home care company, then they can watch your loved one in the pool or take them to grab some ice cream! Remember to wear sunscreen and stay hydrated on any outing. 

Senior citizens are prone to developing heat-related health problems in the summer season. With the preceding tips, you can care for your loved ones and do your part in keeping them cool and comfortable throughout the hot weather. 

Passing time can be a struggle during the hot summer months. Indulging in a good book or becoming active on a blog site can provide these individuals with the comfort of an effective passage of time, right in the comfort of their air-conditioned home. 

For more senior insights, head back to the My Nurse Family blog.

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