Sweltering temperatures can be dangerous to senior safety and health in a number of ways. Becoming overheated or dehydrated can contribute to falls, heatstroke, breathing difficulties and other life-threatening conditions. For seniors living in OKC and the surrounding areas, taking extra precautions against the heat is often an essential part of staying safe and healthy during the summer months. Always keep temperature in mind when planning outings and activities.
One of the best ways for a senior living in Oklahoma City to avoid getting overheated during the summer is to try to avoid going out during the hottest part of the day. When at all possible, schedule activities, appointments and other outings during morning or evening hours when it is cooler. In the summer, use window shades, blinds or drapes to block out the sun and help keep the inside temperature lower and more comfortable.
Avoiding summer sun and heat doesn’t mean decreasing or eliminating physical activity. Instead, plan activities that will help keep you cool, such as swimming or water volleyball. Instead of a daily walk in the park, during the hottest months of the summer, try doing your walking in an air conditioned shopping mall. Senior citizen assisted living in OKC often features on-site climate-controlled exercise facilities.
Wear light colored, loose clothing made of natural fibers. Dark colors absorb heat. Synthetic fibers can trap heat and sweat, as can tight-fitting clothing. Try to avoid exposing too much skin to the sun. On sunny days, wear a hat with a wide enough brim to offer some sun protection. Use light, easy-to-remove layers if the chill of air-conditioning in public spaces is too much for comfort.
Staying well hydrated during the heat of the summer is vital. Fluids can help prevent a senior from becoming overheated, reducing the risk of heat exhaustion and sunstroke. Instead of unhealthy beverages like soda, try fruit or fruit-flavored water. Eat chilled juicy fruits like watermelons and oranges. Italian ices and other frozen snacks can help seniors stay cool in the heat.
Seniors living in OKC, as well as family members and caregivers, should become familiar with the symptoms of heat-related ailments and dehydration. The symptoms of dehydration, heat exhaustion and the more dangerous heatstroke can overlap. Pay close attention when these symptoms occur and take immediate action to alleviate them. Heatstroke, it should be noted, requires professional medical intervention. Don’t wait; seek medical care right away.
Dehydration symptoms include headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness or fainting. Those symptoms can also indicate heat exhaustion, especially when accompanied by rapid, shallow breathing and clammy skin. Unrelieved heat exhaustion can progress to the more dangerous heat stroke quite rapidly in extreme heat situations. Heatstroke symptoms can include all of the previous symptoms, as well as difficulty in breathing, a throbbing headache, a fast, hard pulse, visibly reddened, dry, hot skin and a high temperature.
Contact us to learn more about senior safety in the summer.