As the weather starts to heat up, it’s important to be prepared. Older adults have a higher risk of heat-related illness during the hotter summer periods, so make sure you put a few things in place to avoid any potential problems.
You can use your Home Care Package to help you with a lot of summer safety measures around the home, so chat to your Home Care provider if you’re worried that you don’t have the right things set up to keep you safe and well.
1. Stay hydrated
Water is one of the most important things for living beings! Humans are made up of 60% water and we need it for essential processes in the body…
Make sure you always have a water bottle with you – sometimes even though we know we should drink regularly, it’s easy to forget. Having a water bottle nearby is a good reminder to keep drinking.
The amount you should drink depends on several factors and isn’t always the same for everyone. Generally, the rule of thumb is to drink 2L of water every day. If you are active, or if it’s a particularly hot day and you’re sweating more than usual, you may need a little more than that to replenish the extra loss.
Sometimes water can get a little boring! Try adding some things to it, like lemon, orange, mint to change things up a bit!
Your Home Care provider can help you to keep up your water intake by offering reminders and making sure you have water nearby at all times, particularly if you are out and about with them.
2. Exercise at the right times
If you’re active, or even just taking a stroll around the block, make sure you do it at the right time. On those extra hot days, that means getting up early before the hottest part of the day, or going out when the cooler evening weather arrives.
Drink water before you head out, and if you can, take a bottle of water with you. Wear appropriate clothing that won’t cause you to overheat but still protects you from any sun.
Ensure you have a way of cooling down after your exercise too, whether that be turning on fans or air conditioning before you leave, or having a cool, refreshing shower when you get home.
Make sure you don’t do too much on the hotter days and always apply common sense! If you start to feel lightheaded or sick in any way, slow down or stop!
3. Slip, slop, slap!
Having the right gear when you’re heading out to exercise is vital. A hat, sunglasses and sunscreen are key items to remember, as well as clothing that is well-suited to warm weather and sun protection.
Ideally, your hat should be wide-brimmed and cover your ears as well as your face. Light, loose fitting clothing is best for a hot day. It’s better to avoid singlets and instead choose longer sleeves so that you protect your shoulders from the sun.
Choose your sunscreen wisely too – some work a lot better than others. To be safe, select a sunscreen that has SPF 30 and above.
While it might be tempting to wear thongs/flip flops on a hot day, remember that they can be a little more difficult to walk in and have even been known to contribute to falls. Make sure you’re wearing footwear that is stable, supportive and gives you good traction.
4. Air con/keep cool
If you have air conditioning, use it! Many older adults worry about the cost of running their air conditioning and don’t use it as often as they should. This can sometimes lead to heat-related issues. Did you know that most air conditioning units are actually more economical if they are kept on at a steady temperature, rather than left off and turned on briefly to cool the room down quickly.
If you don’t have air conditioning, shut up your house on hot days – close all doors and blinds or curtains. Turn on fans if you have them, and have a cool drink on hand at all times. Make sure you keep up your fluid intake!
If you’re really feeling the heat, you can run a cool bath or have a cool shower. Another quick and easy way to cool down is to wet some towels and drape them around yourself. A cool, wet cloth on the back of your neck can do wonders on a hot day!
If your bath or shower are difficult for you to get in and out of, speak with your Home Care provider – home modifications are a common Home Care Package service and can have a huge impact on your ability to stay safely at home.
5. Act early
Know the warning signs of heat stroke and other heat-related issues. If you know the symptoms, you can act in time to prevent anything serious happening.
Some signs to look out for include:
- Dizziness, light-headedness or feeling faint
- Muscle cramps
- Feeling extra tired or weak
- Feeling cold when you’re in the heat
- Excessive sweating
- Nausea or vomiting
- Low blood pressure (dizzy upon standing)
- Fast, rapid pulse
- Loss of consciousness
If you or a loved one experience these symptoms, it is best to call 000 straight away. It’s always better to be safe than sorry! After calling 000, move into the coolest place you can find and try to lower your temperature with a cool bath, or cool wet cloths such as towels.
Need help finding a provider?
If you’re looking for a Home Care provider who will help you stay safe at home this summer and beyond, speak to one of our expert Care Advisers by clicking the button below.