Though it may not be coming home, summer is certainly out to play, with the searing hot days and warm balmy nights a world away from the traditional British high season of scattered showers and disappointment. While this is great news for most, spare a thought for the elderly, and by extension, the relatives who care for them. For them, summer can be a time of difficulty and stress, with uncomfortable temperatures leading to issues with mobility, rest and the rest. A few simple steps can offer a little reassurance, then. With this in mind, here are 5 IDEAL ways to find peace of mind about elderly relatives this summer.
Prevention, not cure, of course. Keeping cool, then, is the best way to fight off the dangers of the summer sun. Most importantly, recommend that outdoor activities be confined to early morning and late afternoon slots, when the sun isn’t blazing quite so strongly. Even then, keeping in the shade is a must. Get some fans installed – standing or desk – in each room your elderly relative inhabits most regularly, and offer assistance on how to turn them on, and up. Also check out their wardrobe (with permission, of course!) and dig out the more loose fitting, lightweight numbers in their collection. Wearing such items makes a real difference to body temperature. Finally, a simple mist spray bottle can make a real difference when sprayed gently on the neck or inner wrist.
Many elderly people are less mobile than their glory days, and as such, have a particular room and chair they love to spend their days in. It’s vital then, that their preferred spot is properly protected from the sun. Although counterintuitive (and a little gloomy), a closed window and lowered blind when the sun is at its highest provides a much cooler environment than one flung open. You could even get some reflective material fixed to the window’s exterior to keep the room mild and pleasantly habitable.
Taking on enough fluids in the warmer months is imperative to avoiding dehydration. Regular calls or messages to elderly loved ones reminding them to drink a glass of water is a good idea, but if they don’t enjoy a plain glass, you could suggest pepping it up with a fruit cordial. A cup of tea offers rehydration, but suggest avoiding both alcohol and coffee, as they have the adverse effect. In terms of diet, salads and fruit contain lots of water, so replenish the fruit bowl in your relative’s house and fix up a leaf based lunch for them from time to time, too. A decent variety of rehydration methods will stop things from getting boring.
ALERTS AND ALARMS
Even if precautions are taken, of course there will be occasional mishaps; falls, a need for assistance, and so on. Fixing up your relative with an alarm, such as a Helpline Elderly Care Alarm available from Helpline, will notify you quickly as to any problems your elderly relatives may be experiencing. This will offer peace of mind from a different angle to the preventative measures suggested above.
KNOW THE SIGNS OF OVERHEATING
Lastly, it’s important for you, the carer, to be educated about the signs of overheating, heat exhaustion and heatstroke. These include cramps, confusion and weakness, as well as excessive sweating and a paler complexion than usual. By staying clued up on what to watch out for, and by advising your elderly loved one to do the same, a better peace of mind regarding their health can be achieved this summer.