We’re offering free advice to the elderly and their carers to help keep them cool as the heat wave continues.
It is important that people understand the risks associated with the heat and act accordingly.
The elderly are the most vulnerable to any hot weather as their ability to regulate their own body temperature decreases with age. The brain function also slows in old age, making it harder for an elderly person to respond to a temperature change.
It is essential that older people stay cool and I can’t stress this enough, especially if there are several hot days and weeks in a row, as we’ve been experiencing recently. We’ve put together a list of top tips the elderly can follow in order to stay cool in the heat:
- Drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol and caffeine drinks
- Turn off non-essential lights and electrical equipment, such as computers and printers, to avoid generating additional heat
- Keep curtains closed to block out heat
- If possible, sleep in a cooler room at night
- Eat cooler foods such as salads
- Avoid too much physical activity as it can cause you to over heat
- If going outside, always wear a hat, sunglasses and sun cream.
Drinking plenty of water is one of the most important things an elderly person can do in the heat. Dehydration can affect most people in hot weather but in particular the elderly and especially those with dementia who are sometimes unable to detect thirst easily. Dehydration can also lead to complications due to toxins in the bloodstream and can affect the liver and kidney. Older people can also experience dry, itchy skin if dehydrated.
Some elderly people who live alone or are simply too frail or have reduced mobility will find taking care in hot weather difficult, so it’s important to check up on any loved-ones, friends or neighbours regularly.
If an elderly person is on medication for circulatory problems, being over hot can lead to the inability to produce sweat, meaning the body cannot cool itself and can eventually lead to heatstroke.
It’s a good idea to have a fan in any rooms or a hand-held fan within easy reach. You could even keep a damp flannel or cloth to hand to help cool the face and neck.
Our carers will be making sure all our service users are keeping as cool as they can this summer. We will also be offering anyone who calls us free advice and they don’t have to be a carer or user of ours, anyone can call in for assistance.