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Hot weather can increase everyone’s risk for heat exhaustion and dehydration, but it’s especially dangerous for seniors, who may not be as aware of changes in body temperature.
Fortunately, keeping seniors safe and healthy during hotter weather is manageable when you follow these simple tips:
One of the most important ways to maintain health during the summer is by drinking enough fluids to avoid dehydration. Drink plenty of water and eat foods containing water, such as fruits, vegetables, gelatin (Jell-O) and ice pops. Beware of coffee and alcohol, which can actually dehydrate, rather than replenish, the body of fluids.
Though your appetite may decrease in summer months, it is important to continue to eat well. Be sure your daily meals contain protein (lean meats, like chicken and fish) and carbohydrates (vegetables and whole grains). Eat small, frequent meals to keep up your strength.
Take frequent cool baths and showers to keep your body temperature from rising too high. Be sure that the bathtub has a slip-resistant mat or safety bars to prevent slips and falls.
For elderly people who are living alone, regular home visits offer welcome companionship when excessive heat outdoors keeps you inside for long periods of time. A home health aide can also provide peace of mind for family members.
The hottest time of the day is between 10 AM and 2 PM. Avoid cooking or spending time outdoors during this period. If you must leave the house during a heat wave, wear loose, light-colored clothing and a wide-brimmed hat. Always keep a fresh bottle of water in the refrigerator and bring it with you when you leave the house.
Visit your local library, shopping center, movie theater, community center, or anyplace with air conditioning. Make sure you can get to important places like the police station, fire station, pharmacy and hospital, in case of an emergency.