How Older Adults Can Stay Safe in the Summer

January 16, 2018

Written by Tara Tyrrell. 

There’s no doubt that our summer heat is among the world’s harshest, and while it can be uncomfortable for most people, it can also be a serious danger, particularly as we get older.

That’s because as we get older, we have a decreased ability to notice a change in our body temperature. You may also have a health condition that makes you less adaptable to heat, or you may take a medication that contributions to dehydration. It just means that we have to be extra aware of our bodies during summer.

If you are older, or you are caring for someone who is older, there are some key steps you can take to ensure the summer months pass by more comfortably.

Appropriate Clothing
It's really important to dress properly for the weather – and in summer that means lightweight and light-coloured materials (like cotton and linen). Make sure you don’t wear anything too tight, aim for loose-fitting clothing to help keep you cool.

Dehydration is a serious risk in the summer, so it's absolutely vital that you drink plenty of water. The older you are, the more susceptible you are to dehydration and you often don’t notice your thirst. Stock up on water and keep sports drinks handy to replace those lost fluids.

It may be helpful to label your water by day to ensure you are drinking a sufficient amount – just keep a jug of tap water in the fridge so that it's nice and cool.

Hats, Sunscreen And Shades
Ideally, you should avoid being out during the sun's hottest times of the day. However, no matter when you go out – sunscreen, sunglasses, and hats are a must. Not only will it prevent sunburn, but it will help you stay cool. Sunscreen should be re-applied regularly.

Have a Strong Social Network
Heat can be life-threatening, so it's important that you are in regular contact with friends or members of your family. It also means you'll have people to check in on you during the hottest periods.

Keep Your Health Under Wraps
It's always wise to check in with your pharmacist ahead of the hot weather and check whether any of your regular medications could be affected by the heat. If your medications are exposed to high temperatures, they may not be as effective when taken. You can also use MedAdvisor to check the storage instructions for each of your medications.

And if you don't have air conditioning, you should try to visit somewhere that does – whether it's a supermarket, a neighbour's home or a library. Anywhere that you can go to get relief from the extreme heat is helpful!

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