NJ Senior Care Blog

Summer Safety For Homebound Seniors

 

 

For homebound seniors, summertime may pose health risks that caregivers and family members should be aware of.


Summer is finally here, and for many of us, it’s the season to vacation, spend time with our families and soak up the sunshine. For many seniors, however, summer can be challenging. Higher temperatures can be dangerous for seniors, especially those without access to air conditioning or transportation.


If you have a senior loved one who is homebound or has limited mobility, it’s important to take summertime safety precautions to protect them.


Here’s what you should know about seniors, summer heat and safety.

Seniors Are More Susceptible to Increased Temperatures

People 65 and older are more susceptible to high temperatures than younger people.


This is a due to a number of biological factors.


For starters, the body’s ability to regulate its own internal temperature diminishes as we age. This is caused in part by natural changes to the sweat glands and blood circulation. These changes can be worsened by certain health problems or medications.


It is well-documented that seniors have a lower natural body temperature than younger people. This means it may take them longer to realize they are overheating. Additionally, older people don’t sweat as much. Sweating less means less internal temperature regulation. It also means the symptoms of dehydration may not be as apparent to older individuals. It’s important to watch for signs of heat exhaustion in an elderly loved one. Symptoms can include increased fatigue, dizziness, headache, and muscle cramping.

 

 If you have a senior loved one who still lives at home, it’s important that the temperature of their home is cool enough during the summer. Many seniors, especially those with health conditions or cognitive impairments, may not realize that their homes are too warm.

Helping Your Senior Loved One Stay Cool During Summer

Here’s how you can help:


  • Check the thermostat when you visit. If your loved one has air conditioning, make sure it’s switched on during the hottest parts of the day. If your loved one complains of being cold, make sure they layer their clothing, rather than increase the temperature in the home.
  • If your loved one refuses to use the air conditioner, make sure there are fans available. Make sure the shades on the windows are closed during the hottest points of the day.
  • Make sure cool water is available to your loved one throughout the day. Consider purchasing a multi-liter water filter that can sit in your loved one’s refrigerator. Make sure it’s filled each time you visit.

Small temperature control measures can help ensure that your loved one stays safe, hydrated and healthy, no matter the temperature.

Make Sure They Have Reliable Transportation

Many seniors can no longer drive. This forces them to depend on alternate forms of transportation, such as walking or using a power scooter, to get around. In hot weather, this can be dangerous. If you know your senior loved one has to go somewhere, arrange for transportation in a car or bus with temperature control. If you don’t have community transportation services or a family member to help, consider a home caregiving service. These services usually include transportation to doctor’s appointments or errands around town.

Help Protect Them From The Sun

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States...and it’s on the rise.

 

 For seniors, skin cancer and sun damage are an increasing threat.

 

This is because older adults are more susceptible to sunburn than younger individuals. As we age, our skin naturally thins and loses elasticity and water content. This can make older skin more susceptible to intense UV rays, especially those between the peak daylight hours of 10 AM and 4 PM.


Make sure your loved one has UV protection each time they go outside. This includes a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, protective clothing and sunglasses.


These measures can help ensure that your loved one is protected from the sun. They also lower the risk of skin cancer.

Home Caregiving for Increased Summer Safety

If you’re worried about the safety of an older loved one this summer, a home caregiver can give you peace of mind.


Visiting Angels of Burlington and Mercer Counties in New Jersey is a trusted home care provider. If you’re seeking home care services for a senior this summer, contact Visiting Angels today.

Each Visiting Angels agency is a franchise that is independently owned and operated. The Franchisor, Living Assistance Services Inc., does not control or manage the day to day business operations of any Visiting Angels franchised agency.