Summer time can be particularly challenging for seniors. Rising temperatures, extreme heat, and damaging UV rays might trigger a series of illnesses. Leaving elderly parents alone is not recommended. Their heart is weak and increased temperatures could make them feel even weaker. Some might develop acute depression, whereas others may struggle with dehydration, anxiety, or lack of appetite. It is important for caregivers to keep an eye on the elderly, just to make sure they’re properly taken care of. A caregiver’s job is permanent. If you’ve made the decision to look after an aging parent, you should know that you can’t back down.
Here are some guidelines to help you prepare your loved one for the hot summer days.
Set some priorities straight
In many countries around the world summer time comes with temperatures that go beyond 30 degrees Celsius. In order to make sure your senior parents remain healthy, you need to set some priorities straight. Begin by compelling them to adhere to a proper diet. Center your attention on lean meats, fruits, vegetables and dairy. Also, you might want to make sure they drink plenty of water throughout the day as well, even if they’re not thirsty. As people get closer and closer to seniority, they might start forgetting things. Be there to remind them that it is important to drink water; in case plain water is no their thing, you can recommend them to enjoy fruit shakes, watermelon or lemonade. These have sufficient water quantities to make sure your loved ones are properly hydrated.
Make doctor appointments a weekly endeavor
Certain medications might have negative effects in the summer due to high temperatures. Caregivers should become more familiar with the type of medication their parents are currently taking. Know more about the pills and check to see whether they feature side effects if taken at high temperatures. Intense heat can have an impact on your parent’s metabolism, so you might want to keep an eye on both their diet and current treatment. It might also be a great idea to consult with a nutritionist to help boost their immune system.
Stay in touch
Are your parents comfortable in living alone? Are they used to shopping for their groceries on a weekly basis? Are they able to do housecleaning tasks all by themselves? If they’re healthy, they’re quite used to being independent. However, in the summer they might need assistance. Their bodies shouldn’t be exposed to intense heat because their heart may not be able to resist. At more than 30 degrees their heart will probably be racing, thus making their bodies crash. What you can do is be there for them. Check up on them weekly and offer to help with cleaning and grocery shopping. This way you allow them to relax and enjoy more pleasant activities inside the home where the air is cooler and fresher.
Help them choose their clothes properly
In the summer you should recommend your aging parents to avoid wearing dark, synthetic clothes. These trap heat causing the body to warm up instantly. Be there for them and help them make an informed decision. Proper summer clothing should be made of linen or cotton in order to permit the skin to breathe. Choose light colors of white and beige to prevent the sun from trapping heat. Sun creams with increased UV protection are a must; as well as sunglasses and hats. Shoes are equally important; the feet of an elderly person are prone to inflammation, especially in the summer when the blood circulation is weakened. Leather sandals with a soft bottom are the best; they’re comfortable and allow the feet to breathe.
Inform your parents about hyperthermia risks
Hyperthermia can have devastating effects on seniors in the summer months. Abnormal body temperatures may lead to unpleasant illnesses, including blood pressure fluctuations and heat strokes. These might be triggered by exposing the body to intense sunlight. As a caregiver, you should be aware of the signs beforehand. Main symptoms that can lead to hyperthermia are:
- Flushed & dry skin
- Behavioral changes – anxiety, agitation, confusion
- Dizziness, fainting
As opposite to adults who mostly have a strong and vigorous immune system, the elderly are predisposed to a myriad of viruses in the hot summer days. A lot of them get the common cold, and end up spending days in bed. To make sure your aging parent stays healthy, it is important to inform them about the importance of proper dieting and hydration. Supplementation may be advised to strengthen their bones and keep them rejuvenated all day long. However, supplements should only be taken after you’ve taken them to see a doctor.
If your parents are used to going out for a walk or spend time with friends in the park, they might want to reconsider their options. Don’t let them sit in the sun for too long. Instead, advise them to stay someplace inside (or in the shadow) and enjoy more relaxing activities, such as playing cards, chess, watching TV or reading. Walking is not advised because it affects their blood sugar levels, not to mention that their heart will be racing. A great idea would be to take them to a spa where they can enjoy a massage or swim in a covered pool.
There are lots of things seniors can do in the summer without jeopardizing their health. As long as they take precaution measures and they avoid direct sunlight, they should be fine. Hats, sunglasses and cotton clothes are fundamental; as well as drinking plenty of water and avoiding fatty foods. Be there for them and help out whenever you can. Just to see you will make them feel a lot better, both on the outside and on the inside.
By Jefferey Morgan and Foresthc.com!
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