Most of us love the sunshine but staying well in the heat can be difficult for older people. We all want to make the most of the warm weather but how do you stay safe when the temperatures rise? Whether you're staying at home or going abroad, spending long amounts of time in the heat can put us at risk, especially for older people.
Why are older people more at risk?
As we age, our bodies become less effective at regulating temperatures, meaning any changes can be a problem. Older people don't sweat as much as younger adults and their fat storage is different, which makes it harder to stay well when the temperatures rise. They are also more likely to have medical conditions or be on medication that makes it a more complicated issue.
Staying safe in the heat
These risk factors don't mean that you should stay inside all the time as you get older. Getting outside and enjoying the warmer weather has a variety of benefits but it's important to take the right steps to ensure everyone stays safe and able to enjoy the time in the sun.
Everyone knows the importance of staying hydrated but for the elderly it can be difficult to drink the recommended amount, especially in the warmer weather.Getting enough liquids when it's warm is the best way to protect yourself from heat stroke and other related issues. If it is difficult to drink water, there's a variety of other ways to get enough liquid. From ice tea to ice lollies, finding an enjoyable way to stay hydrated is key.
Avoid peak hours
Depending on the location, it's usually hottest around midday. Staying inside at this time means the most extreme weather will be avoided, as will the greatest heat-related risks for people of all ages.
It can be tempting to wear fewer clothes during the warmer weather but this can increase the risk of sunburn. Instead opt for light, breathable fabrics that allow you to be covered without leaving your skin vulnerable. It's recommended that everyone has around 15 minutes of sun exposure each day to get the vitamin D they need, though supplements are available too. Make sure any bare skin is covered in sun cream of an appropriate factor and that you reapply it regularly.
Spotting the early signs of heat exhaustion is one of the best ways to prevent any serious health problems. Intense thirst, headaches, dizziness and nausea are all signs that you are starting to suffer. If you can't go inside and have a cool shower, do your best to cool down by loosening any tight clothes or having a cool drink. Symptoms should start to improve within 30 minutes or you should contact a health professional.
Making the most of the warm weather
With the longer days and warmer climate, the summer is a fantastic time to go out and make new friends. Whether it's picking up a hobby or attending events in your local community, taking the opportunity to do new things or meet different people is a great way for you to expand your social circle as you get older.
Barchester care homes throughout the UK are making the most of the weather by hosting a variety of events for (safe) fun in the sun. This includes Summer Fetes, BBQ’s in the garden, as well as live music shows in the homes for both inside and outside fun. To find out more about how your nearest home is making the most of the weather please click here.