The unfortunate reality for many of our senior family members and friends is that heat can be devastating, and sometimes fatal.
To ensure your loved ones are safe during the summer heat, take the 1-2-3 Approach:
1. Check in: call or visit your elderly loved ones frequently. Find out how they are doing to ensure they are staying cool. If they do not have air conditioning, do they have sufficient fans? Check the air conditioning unit to ensure it is working properly. Call frequently and invite them to call you if they are feeling unwell.
2. Invite them in: if your loved one does not live in an air conditioned space, invite them to your home or bring them to a space that is air conditioned; a library, a community centre, or a seniors residence are all great options. There are many day programs available to seniors that will not only get them out of the heat but engage them socially as well.
3. Drink, bathe and stay cool: encourage your loved one to increase their intact of fluid (non-alcoholic). Be sure they consult their physician if they are on medications that are diuretics. Encourage your loved ones to use cool clothes, sponge baths or bathe in warm water to keep their body temperature down.
The best way to help a loved one during a heat wave is to be present in their lives. Don’t take for granted that if you’re ok they are too. Seniors have a harder time regulating their body temperature so be aware so that you can be there for them at an important and very hot time of the year.