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Heatwaves: Some Hot Top-Tips For Taking Care Of Your Loved Ones This Summer

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After such a cold and wet winter, a bit of sun may sound like the perfect thing. Summer may seem like it is yet to get going, but the hot weather will soon be upon us. Whilst everyone many people may love a hot summer, people can often underestimate the effect these high temperatures have on older people. The 2018 heatwave led to an alarming increase in the mortality rate – with those above the age of 70 most at risk.

As we age, our body becomes less efficient at regulating our temperature, which can be amplified by some types of medication. Some individuals are at greater risk. For example people living with dementia, heart problems or reduced mobility can all struggle to regulate their body temperature throughout the hotter months.

If you have an older parent or relative, now is a great time to start thinking about ways to keep your loved one cool before any heat waves strike. To help, we’ve provided our favourite top-tips to staying cool this summer.

How hot is too hot?

Contrary to what you might think, we don’t actually need to see temperatures in the high 20s or early 30s before things start to get dangerous. In fact, if you experience consistent temperatures in the low 30s for more than two days, the effects on health can become a real issue.

There are two main risks that can really affect older people, overheating and dehydration. Both can pose a risk to existing health problems, such as heart issues and breathing difficulties, whilst also increasing the risk of heat stroke and exhaustion.

What Are The Signs Of Overheating?

Overheating and dehydration can affect older people much quicker than you might think. That is why it is important to look for the key signs that your loved one is struggling, especially if they have trouble communicating. These signs can include:

  • A shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Chest pain
  • General weakness and confusion
  • Muscle cramps

Tips For Helping Your Loved One Stay Cool

There a number of ways in which you can help keep your loved one cool, calm and properly hydrated. These include:

Stay out of direct sunlight

Throughout the day, try to keep your loved one out of direct sunlight, especially during the hottest part of the day.

Windows and blinds

During the day, try and keep both their windows and blinds shut to help create a cool shaded space. Then in the evening you can open them if the air temperature cools and is sufficient.

Plenty of water

Try and encourage them to drink water throughout the day. This could include storing some drinks in the fridge to give a cool and refreshing drink, especially on hotter days.

Appropriate clothing

Try and encourage your loved one to wear clothing that is loose and cool. Hats and sunglasses are also very useful if they will be spending some of their day outside.

Keep exercise to a minimum

We always like to encourage exercise even through the summer months. However, during the hotter months we would always recommend doing so in the early morning or evening when it is much cooler.

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