Top tips on how to keep seniors cool in the summer heat

As the summer sets in and temperatures soar, keeping older adults comfortable becomes paramount. As we age, our bodies become less good at regulating temperature, meaning seniors are more susceptible to heat-related illnesses compared to younger people.

Here are our tips to ensure seniors stay safe and cool in the summer heat:

Stay hydrated

Encourage older adults to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day, even if they don't feel thirsty. Dehydration can sneak up quickly, especially in hot weather. The best way to keep hydrated is to opt for water, herbal teas, and diluted fruit juices. Avoid too much caffeine and alcohol, as they can contribute to dehydration.

Dress appropriately for the heat

Choose lightweight, loose-fitting clothing in breathable fabrics such as cotton or linen, for older people to wear when it’s hot. Light-coloured clothing reflects sunlight, helping to keep the body cooler. Make sure they have a hat on hand, preferably with a wide brim, as well as sunglasses for added protection outdoors.

Stay in the shade

When heading outdoors, encourage seniors to stay in shaded areas as much as possible, especially during the hottest parts of the day, which are typically between 10am and 4pm. Plan outdoor activities, such as walks or picnics, for the early mornings or late afternoons when it’s cooler and more comfortable.

Increase ventilation

Ensure that living spaces are kept as cool and well ventilated as possible. Fans can help keep the air circulating, making temperatures more comfortable, and it’s a good idea to keep the curtains closed against the sun during the hottest times of day, to avoid its rays heating up rooms.

Take cool showers or baths

A refreshing shower or bath can provide instant relief from the heat. Where possible, encourage seniors to take cool showers or baths during particularly hot weather. Alternatively, applying a clean flannel soaked in cool water to the skin can be an effective way to help cool a person down.

Monitor medications

Some medications can increase sensitivity to heat or further affect the body's ability to regulate temperature. Talk to your loved one’s doctor or care team about the medications they’re taking and ask about any potential side effects related to heat. If necessary, talk to a healthcare professional about adjusting dosages or schedules to minimise risks.

Keep in touch

Make sure you check in regularly on older loved ones during a heatwave, especially those who live alone. Ask how they’re feeling and look out for any signs of heat-related conditions, like heat stroke and dehydration. The key things to watch out for include headaches, dizziness, fatigue or lethargy, disorientation, nausea, dry skin, a flushed face and a fast pulse. Seek medical attention if you notice any of these warning signs.

For more advice on keeping seniors safe in summer, or to discuss care needs, contact Wessex Care today.

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