With 10 states reporting record high temperatures this summer, the National Weather Service warns hot temps and high humidity will continue to create danger that causes heat illnesses, especially for the elderly. Even if temps drop a bit, experts warn the elderly often do not take proper precautions to stay cool and hydrated. Forty percent of heat-related deaths are among people over the age of 65.
Visiting Angels, one of the nation’s largest in-home senior care companies, with an office in the Cape Region, advises families to protect their aging relatives by assembling Senior Summer Safety Kits. These kits include vital, yet inexpensive tools to make sure elderly loved ones have the protection they need to stay safe during hot summer days.
“Seniors often don’t realize their bodies can’t handle heat like they used to, so they fail to take extra precautions. That’s why it’s so important to have resources available right within reach,” says Visiting Angels CEO Larry Meigs.
Senior Summer Safety Kits can include the following: a reusable water bottle for hydration, copies of prescriptions and health insurance cards, phone numbers of healthcare providers and information about health problems, sunscreen of SPF 30 or greater, snap towels that activate with water and have a cooling effect when applied to the skin, battery-operated misting fans, ID bracelet with personal information and emergency contact numbers, and a prepaid phone card.
Visiting Angels caregivers can come to the home to help with chores like cooking or yard work which can be strenuous in the heat. They also help seniors take proper precautions to beat the heat including making sure seniors have lightweight, loose-fitting clothes; reminding seniors to drink enough water and keeping water bottles filled and stocked; closing blinds and curtains to keep the house cool; using battery-operated, hand-held fans which caregivers carry; checking on AC temperature and changing filters. Caregivers assure that seniors eat well but eat lightly during the hottest weather and can provide inside activities for clients during the hottest part of the day.
Caregivers can also help with late sundown syndrome, periods of agitation in the evening for seniors with dementia, by keeping seniors active in the day so they’re tired out at night and can go to sleep with no problem.
In case of emergency, caregivers have copies of seniors’ prescriptions, health insurance card and phone numbers of healthcare providers.
For more information on Visiting Angels or to find a location, go to www.visitingangels.com.