Extreme heat can affect seniors more than others. Living alone, chronic medical problems and even medications can exacerbate the risk of heart-related illnesses due to the rise in temperature. There are many reasons for this, for example their bodies don’t effectively adjust to higher temperatures, and they’re also more likely to be dehydrated. Furthermore, some prescription medications can even impair the ability to sweat, which is how the body naturally cools itself.
To keep seniors safe and comfortable as the temperature rises, Centennial Living has listed 8 practical ways to help them keep cool in summer.
1. Stay hydrated
Encourage them to drink plenty of cool and clean water throughout the day – not just when they feel thirsty. Skip alcohol and caffeine – or at least cut back on them – which can speed up dehydration.
2. Eat light, cool meals, and snacks
Homemade, sugar-free icy poles or slightly frozen grapes are great snacks to enjoy to help stay cool and hydrated. Chicken or pasta salad is a better alternative to hot dishes such as stews and soups.
3. Take a cool shower or bath
Douse the body in cool – but not cold – water, whether in a bath or shower. Alternatively, placing a cool washcloth on the nape of the neck can also have the same effect, and will cool down the entire body to a more comfortable internal temperature.
4. Wear breathable fabrics
Wearing layers of lightweight, breathable fabrics like cotton, linen and silk are easy to remove or add during the day, and can assist in lowering the body’s temperature. Light colours will reflect the sun and heat, so avoid dressing in black.
5. Find a cool place to stay
For those who don’t have air conditioning or fans in their homes, or are concerned about the running costs, consider going to a public library, shopping centre or senior centre. All these places offer free opportunities to stay inside an air-conditioned space.
6. Pay attention to early warning signs
Disorientation, excessive tiredness, dry skin, a flushed face and dizziness are all early warning signs of dehydration and heat stroke. If any of these symptoms begin to appear, take immediate action to cool the body down. Keep a list of emergency phone numbers on hand in case needed.
7. Don’t go outside, or complete tasks earlier in the morning
The garden may need tending to, or the dog may need to go for their daily walk – but these activities can wait until the weather has significantly cooled down. Or at the very least, complete them early in the morning before the sun hits its highest peak.
8. Keep the house as cool as possible
Curtains should be drawn, and shades should be lowered during the hottest part of the day. Windows should be closed to keep out the heat. It is especially important to keep curtains, blinds or shutters closed when the sun is shining directly through the window of that room.
How to keep cool at night
Temperature fluctuations are completely normal, especially at night. For seniors, a high body temperature may disturb their sleep. Here’s a few suggestions on how to keep cool at night so they can have a restful night’s rest:
- Have a cool shower or bath before going to bed
- If you didn’t open windows during the day, it’s a good idea to open them in the evening to let some cooler air flow through
- Invest in a cooling mattress pad
- Have a fan on low or install air conditioning
- Freeze a washcloth before bed and use it as a cold compress on pressure points on your body
- Limit alcohol, coffee or hot drinks before bed
- Choose breathable bedding linen that helps to keep you cool when you’re warm, and warm when you’re cool.
Find everything you need at Centennial Living
Centennial Living offers a range of independent living retirement village units and apartments across Melbourne for seniors. Surprisingly affordable, you are assured a relaxed and safe lifestyle with a range of superb facilities.
In addition to a pet-friendly space and amenities like dishwashers and built-in robes, you can enjoy energy-efficient air conditioning and heating for year-round comfort. Your peace and comfort is our utmost priority, which is why we promise the ease of lifestyle you’ve always dreamt of for your retirement.