Summertime brings an abundance of pleasures – the warmth of the sun, extended daylight, fresh produce and opportunities for outdoor activities. Now that summer is in full swing, it’s important to remember the unique threats and challenges that summertime temperatures in Florida bring to our seniors. The increased temperatures, sun exposure, hydration challenges and varied routine activities demand extra precautions to ensure seniors’ safety and wellness. Halifax Health – Care at Home put together a few tips for our seniors to stay safe during the summer:
Tip 1: Dress for the Season
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends wearing light colors and loose fitting clothing in high temperatures. Wide-brimmed hats, breathable UV protective clothing with long sleeves, and sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays are all tools that can help protect seniors from sun exposure.
Tip 2: Prioritize Hydration
One crucial focus of homecare for seniors is hydration. Due to age-related changes and the effects of certain medications, seniors may not feel thirsty until they are already dehydrated. In summer’s heat, maintaining hydration is even more crucial.
To ensure seniors stay well hydrated, it’s important that they drink fluids regularly throughout the day. While water is the best option, non-alcoholic and non-caffeinated beverages like herbal tea or fruit juice can also contribute to fluid intake. Integrating regular hydration into your daily routine can help prevent dehydration and its associated health risks.
Tip 3: Ensure Sun Protection
Sun protection is an essential part of senior safety during the summer months. UV radiation from the sun can lead to health complications such as skin and eye damage, immune system suppression and skin cancer. When assisting seniors with outdoor activities, caregivers should ensure they apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 30. Apply sunscreen 30 minutes prior to going out and continue to reapply according to the package directions.
Sunburn affects your body’s ability to cool itself and causes a loss of body fluids. It also causes pain and damages the skin.
Tip 4: Stay Alert to Heat Stroke
Heat stroke is a serious heat-related illness that can be life-threatening, particularly for seniors. During the summer, Halifax Health – Care at Home is vigilant about educating caregivers on the signs of heat stroke, which include confusion, dry skin, excessive tiredness, nausea, rapid heartbeat and even loss of consciousness.
To prevent heat stroke, caregivers should keep seniors in cool places, preferably air-conditioned, during the hottest part of the day. Limiting strenuous outdoor activities and exercises during peak hours is also beneficial.
Tip 5: Maintain Nutritional Needs
A balanced diet is a cornerstone of treatment from Halifax Health – Care at Home during every visit with seniors, especially during the summer. We place emphasis on foods high in water content and essential nutrients, specific diet restrictions, and high protein food options. We encourage seniors to consume a variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables like watermelon, berries, cucumbers and leafy greens.
Light, balanced meals can help prevent discomfort or dehydration related to digestion. Moreover, a healthy diet can boost seniors’ immune systems and improve their resistance to potential summer illnesses.
Tip 6: Encourage Safe Activities
Regular physical activity is beneficial for seniors, promoting better health, strength, balance and mood. In summer, however, these activities should be tailored to the heat. Caregivers can suggest safe activities like early morning or late evening walks, indoor exercises or water-based activities like swimming or water aerobics, which are refreshing and low impact.
Things for Seniors to Watch Out for in the Summer Heat
Even when following all the guidelines, it is still possible to suffer health consequences from the heat. That’s why it’s important for seniors to know the warning signs of heat-related illness (e.g., heat stroke, heat exhaustion), such as:
- High body temperature
- Faster heartbeat than normal
- Fainting or passing out
Seniors should seek medical attention immediately if experiencing any of these heat-related symptoms.
Summertime should be an enjoyable period for everyone, including seniors receiving home care from Halifax Health – Care at Home. By focusing on appropriate clothing, proper hydration, sun protection, awareness of heat stroke symptoms, nutritional needs and safe physical activities, caregivers can ensure seniors experience the best of the season while maintaining their safety and health. These measures are not only critical in enhancing seniors’ quality of life but also in fostering a safe, comfortable and fulfilling environment. Enjoy the summer, but always keep safety at the forefront!
Halifax Health Care at Home
If you have ever wondered about homecare, read on to find out more about the daily routines of a Halifax Health – Care at Home Nurse.
Homecare nurses provide direct care to patients with disabilities or chronic conditions in the comfort of their homes. Nurses perform clinical assessments, home safety evaluations, hands-on nursing skills, and interdisciplinary care coordination. They practice a wide range of nursing skills, including:
- (RN Only) Admission, Recertification, Resumption of Care post hospital stay, and Discharge assessments.
- Wound care (Wound Vacs, Pleurx Drains, and JP Drains etc.)
- Intravenous (IV) therapy
- Urinary catheter care
- Tracheostomy care
- Enteral nutrition care and education
There are many reasons why nurses find homecare extremely rewarding. For nurses who enjoy teaching, homecare provides an opportunity to educate patients and families without the interruptions or time constraints of a busy hospital unit.
At Halifax Health – Care at Home, nurses can affect patients in major ways. They see first-hand how patients live, where they sleep, what they eat and who helps them. Homecare workers can implement big changes with lasting effects.
Other benefits to homecare include flexible schedules, autonomy, and variety of skills used daily . There is always something new to learn, see or do within the homecare setting. If you have any questions please feel free to reach out to Charlotte Somach BSN, RN Administrator at 386.425.3871 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
“Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Extreme Heat | Natural Disasters and Severe Weather| CDC” www.cdc.gov, 14 Apr. 2020.
American Heart Association. “In the Summer Heat, Know How to Recognize – and Prevent – Heat Stroke.” Www.heart.org, 23 June 2023, www.heart.org/en/news/2023/06/23/in-the-summer-heat-know-how-to-recognize-and-prevent-heat-stroke. Accessed 5 July 2023.