The good ol’ British summer – the arrival of sunshine and heat can be a little unpredictable so it’s no wonder we often get caught unawares when weather like the recent heatwave hits our shores!
But staying cool, hydrated and shaded is vitally important for older people because the risk of overheating and heat stroke is much higher amongst seniors as they struggle to regulate and adjust to high body temperatures, unlike younger bodies.
In keeping our residents safe and cool this summer, here are our top ten tips to share:
- Drink plenty
Avoid caffeine and alcohol and provide cold drinks throughout the day – don’t wait until they are thirsty. Many of our homes have Hydration Stations so our residents can help themselves, but making water available, especially for those who may be forgetful or suffering with dementia, is the number one rule!
- Eat cooling snacks
Enjoy treats such as ice lollies, frozen yoghurt or ice-cream – our residents never turn their nose up when ice-cream is up for grabs!
- Keep meals light
Fresh dishes such as cold chicken or pasta salad are much preferable to traditional roasts, stews and soups.
- Use a cool compress
Put a cooled flannel on the back of the neck or forehead and periodically refresh with cool water
Sit feet in a pan of cool water (not cold!) and get them to reminisce about the seaside – we’ve been known to fill up the paddling pool!
- Close the curtains
Keep the house cool with blinds down and curtains closed, especially during the hottest part of the day
- Keep clothing layered
Lightweight fabrics help them to regulate their bodies to adjusting temperatures
- Use a fan
Choose from a simple handheld fan, oscillating fan, air cooler or even consider an air-conditioning unit in periods of extended heat
- Stay indoors.
It can be tempting to make the most of a bit of sunshine, but certainly around midday, it’s much safer to seek shade.
- Take cover
Whether an outdoor umbrella over a seating area, a mini parasol or a sunhat for a gentle stroll, keep the sun off the top of your head.