Are you aware of the various dangers that summertime can present to your elderly loved ones?
Most people see summer as a time for enjoying oneself and the outdoors, but for seniors summer can be among the most dangerous times of the year. Seniors are much more susceptible to heat-related illnesses, and are potentially more vulnerable to other threats that younger people take for granted. When you are providing any elderly care service for loved ones, you should be aware of the dangers summer can present to them.
Simply put, the body of an elderly person is much less able to deal with elevated levels of heat than younger people. Heat can become trapped in their body much more easily, doing damage, rather than being released through perspiration.
You should be able to recognize the signs of both heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Heat exhaustion is the milder of the two, with symptoms including:
Heat exhaustion is a relatively minor problem if recognized quickly. Just take the elderly person to some place that is cool and provide plenty of clear fluids to rehydrate. However, if left unchecked, heat exhaustion can lead to heatstroke, a much more serious condition. Heatstroke warning signs include:
If you believe your elderly loved one is suffering from heatstroke, seek immediate emergency medical attention. Heatstroke can result in disability or death if left untreated.
Swimming pools can be excellent sources of exercise, as well as a way to cool off, during the summer. However, be aware that some elderly loved ones may need extra care and attention when swimming. With existing medical conditions and certain medication usage, they have a higher risk of becoming disorientated, or even drowning. No one should swim alone, and if your loved one suffers from dementia, you may need to monitor them when swimming.
With their reduced immune systems, bug bites can pose a greater threat to the elderly – even if they are not allergic. Encourage your loved ones to always report bug bites. Monitor the bites carefully to ensure they remain uninfected. Also, use plenty of bug repellent when going outside.