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Jul 3

Senior Summer Safety!

Say that three times quickly! Actually, this is not a topic on which to be glib. The safety of seniors in the summer time is important as heat and dehydration ends many elderly lives each year. And the challenge is getting harder. seniors playing a gameWhatever your stance on climate change, it is difficult to deny that the weather is getting more variable and extreme each year that passes.

The other challenge is the “60 is the new 40” culture we live in today. Whilst most people will be aware that the elderly are particularly susceptible to problems caused by heat and dehydration, many do not consider themselves in that “elderly” group. One study showed that almost all participants over 65 knew of the risks but that thought they applied to people older than themselves.

> What are the dangers of heat and dehydration? Most common is feeling dizzy or faint and falling. The most extreme is death as the body begins to shut down.

> What are the signs of dehydration? The most common sign is thirst, although for many older adults, they will already be dehydrated when they notice they are thirsty. They might also experience feeling tired, urinating less often, with urine that is darker in color, or dizziness and confusion.

> What can seniors, their loved ones and senior caregivers do to help avoid the dangers of heat and hydration? There are many, many preventive measures which can be researched online. Here are just a few tips for keeping our elders safe in summer:

Be aware of the risks, and the warning signs and the changing weather temperatures

Drink plenty of fluids – even if you are not feeling thirsty

Make drinking fluids a scheduled part of the day, such as drinking a full cup of water when taking pills, versus just the amount of water needed to swallow the pills

Drink the right kinds of fluids – alcohol and coffee to do qualify as fluids in this situation

Eat food – such as fruits – that bring a lot of fluids with them

Stay somewhere that is air conditioned or kept cool

Ensure the home of the senior loved one is set-up to manage the risks of heat and dehydration – such as fans, air conditioners, fruits ad fluids

Go to places that are air conditioned or kept cool (movie theatres are great for this)

Avoid places that have significant sun exposure – such as a golf course – or activities such as exercise which increases

Wear sun screen (Our skin gets thinner as we get older, making it more sensitive to the effects of the sun)

Stay out of the sun, especially during the hottest times of the day (usually the afternoon)

> What to do when there are signs of dehydration? There are things to do at home such as getting your senior loved one to a cool place and drinking fluids. But you should also know who to call and at what point by talking with the senior loved one’s doctor.

It is important to ensure seniors are not alone for extended periods of time. Family, friends, neighbors, and senior caregivers should check in on them regularly and should be aware of the warning signs and measures to fix it.

Whatever the weather will be this year, you know you can count on SOSsitter, come rain or shine, to help you find the right support for your household. SOSsitter.ca is a Canadian portal designed to help you find local caregivers in your area, easily and quickly. The caregiver who is right for your family is only a click away.