Rising temperatures can cause issues for anyone, particularly during the peak of summer. However, older adults are particularly susceptible to higher temperatures. Even in hospice, additional health issues such as diabetes and heart conditions can create a recipe for trouble. Staying aware and keeping cautious can help to mitigate additional risk – here are some tips to keep your older loved one in hospice care safe and comfortable in the warm weather.
Encourage your older loved one to drink cool drinks throughout the day and make sure they are stocked with water and other cool refreshments. Alcohol, coffee and tea all have a diuretic effect and can dehydrate the body further. Some seniors may not be aware they are thirsty or think about it, so it’s important to still hydrate even if they say they’re not thirsty. Seek medical help if you suspect dehydration.
Wear Suitable Clothing
Suggest they wear clothing that is loose and cool. Older adults should wear lightweight clothes made from natural fibers such as cotton and linen. Light-colored clothing works well for outdoors as it reflects the sun’s rays.
Take a Cooling Bath or Shower
Help your loved one take a cool bath or shower. This can keep the body’s internal temperature from hitting dangerous levels. Alternatively, make a cool compress by placing a moistened towel on their forehead or back of the neck. Replace frequently.
Minimize Direct Sun Exposure
Stay indoors during the hottest hours of the day, from 1-4. Whether it’s at the park, beach or even their own yard/garden, it’s important to reduce time in the sun during this part of the day. Heat exhaustion can take hold quickly and have serious effects. The CDC provides specific advice on identifying and dealing with heat-related disorders. Outside of these hours it can be useful to use an umbrella or stay on a porch area.
Choose Suitable Activities
Simple and meaningful activities can make a big difference. Some ideas that typically go over well include listening to music your loved one enjoys, looking at family photos and videos, indulging in simple favorite foods, aromatherapy, reading adored stories and books, light massage and caring for simple plants and flowers.
Maximize Air Conditioning Options
Keep the air conditioning below 80 degrees fahrenheit. Invest in a room-specific air conditioner or use fans if you don’t have air conditioning. Verify it’s working properly and keep details of someone who can repair it at short notice if it breaks. Keep a backup fan available too.
Enjoy Light Meals
Avoid hot, heavy meals and don’t use the oven.
Check In Often
Check in with your loved one regularly. Older people can have a tendency towards feeling cooler than their younger counterparts and can sometimes miss the warning signs. Keep in mind that an older person with cognitive issues may not be able to inform when they are too hot.
At Luxe Hospice, our goal is to maximize the comfort of your loved one and to elevate dignity and care in every moment. We’re here to help.
For more information, call the experienced team at Luxe Hospice today.