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Summer can be hard on seniors. This is particularly true for those individuals who are unprepared for weather extremes and the challenges of getting to and from important appointments on hot days. Following are several of the most common safety issues seniors face during this time of year along with tips for mitigating them.
1. Insufficient Indoor Cooling
Living on fixed incomes can make seniors reticent to use their home heating and cooling equipment. Throughout the summer, however, using these systems is vital for maintaining overall health. Family members can assist their loved ones in finding local energy assistance programs or more efficient HVAC units.
It is also vital for seniors to have their home cooling systems serviced before the start of the hot season. Many people fail to consider these units until they have to turn them on. Should a system fail in the middle of the summer, aging individuals will also need to have back-up plans for staying cool, such as temporarily staying with family members or using portable, back-up cooling units.
2. Bug Bites
Bug bites can be extremely problematic for the elderly, especially in areas in which problems like West Nile virus are prevalent. Family members should make sure all standing bodies of water in outdoor areas are eliminated or covered and all home windows have functional screens.
3. Travel to Appointments
Many seniors have to give up their driver’s license due to diminished eyesight, slower response times and other issues. While some seniors might fare well on public transportation throughout the cooler months of the year, it is important to have an alternate plan for getting to important appointments and running personal errands. Family members can offer to shuttle their loved ones around or seniors can use an Albuquerque senior home care company that provides transportation services.
4. Heat Stroke
It is best for seniors to complete all essential outings before temperatures climb to their highest. Once the afternoon hits, seniors should be safe and inside until temperatures begin to drop in the early evening. They should also wear light, loose-fitting clothes with plenty of ventilation and keep a bottle of water on hand. Sipping on water throughout the day is one of the best ways to prevent dehydration. It is a lot easier than trying to gulp down large quantities of water after thirst and other signs of dehydration have already set in.
5. Medication Side Effects
Seniors should be cognizant of the different ways in which their regular medications will affect their physical reactions to sunlight and heat. Some prescription drugs can accelerate sunburns, promote dehydration and cause a range of heat-related problems. Talking with primary doctors will help aging adults and their family members identify which habits need to be changed during the summer months in order to avoid heat-related issues that are tied to prescription medications.
For more information on senior safety, reach out to Home Care Assistance. We offer balanced care, companionship, and safety monitoring for seniors in the comfort of home. Find out how our hourly or live-in care in Albuquerque can enhance your loved one’s quality of life and help him or her stay safe as the temperature rises. Call 505-798-0800 and schedule a no-obligation consultation with a friendly Care Manager.