July and August are often a time for family reunions, ball games and picnics. These types of gatherings can be very enjoyable for your senior loved one, but they do pose potential risks due to the dangers of heat exhaustion.
Are there ways you can protect your loved one from the heat? Thankfully, the answer is yes. As their Family Caregiver, your loved one relies on you for daily care and assistance, but your job also includes helping to increase their quality of life. It is important for caregivers to know how to safely provide those special activities mentioned above. However, during the hot summer months, there are even more safety precautions that need to be taken.
Did you know that there are approximately 400 fatalities caused by heat exhaustion every day? Many of the cases of heat exhaustion can be prevented but symptoms often go unnoticed. That, coupled with the fact that elderly individuals are at a higher risk, is why it is important for caregivers to know the causes and warning signs.
What Causes Heat Exhaustion?
- Extended heat exposure
- Heart disease
- Exposure to high temperature and humidity
- Being overdressed in too many layers of clothing
- Certain medications such as diuretics and beta blockers
- Excessive exercise or excursion
Other factors that can cause your loved one to be at a high risk for heat exhaustion this summer is the fact that as individuals age, they lose their ability to effectively cool their body because they produce less sweat and have decreased circulation. As people age and are affected by health risks like heart disease, diabetes and other chronic health conditions, their bodies lose the ability to cool. Health professionals have also identified mental health as a factor in heat exhaustion because individuals may not realize they are overheating.
What Are Signs of Heat Exhaustion?
- Vomiting or nausea
- Infrequent urination
- Irritable behavior
- High Fever
- Dry, red skin
- Weak or rapid pulse
- Shallow Breathing
How Do I Protect My Loved One From The Heat?
- When planning an outdoor outing, make sure they are wearing light weight fabric and limited layers.
- Increase water intake; avoid sugary drinks.
- Find air conditioned spaces indoors as much as possible.
- Avoid strenuous activity outdoors.
- Allow cars to cool before getting in them; do not sit in cars, instead go inside or leave them running with the air conditioner on.
Providing your loved one with a safe environment is one of the most important priorities you have on your caregiver to do list. Let the professionals at Freudenthal Home Health be your partner in providing that care for your senior loved one. Contact us today to find out all of the ways we can be your partner in caregiving.