Summer has arrived, which means everyone, including seniors are ready to get out and enjoy the sunshine. Unfortunately, COVID-19 is still a risk, especially for seniors, which means individuals are more homebound this season. This not only makes it difficult for seniors to get out and socialize, but they are also prevented from taking advantage of the many cool zone sites available in the San Diego area. The good news is, seniors can follow the recommendations for staying home, while still staying cool. Seniors have a high risk of becoming overheated and dehydrated, so here are a few easy and inexpensive ways to stay cool, while staying home.
Replace the Bulbs
One of the easiest ways to reduce the amount of heat in your home is by giving the lamps and overhead lights some attention. Replacing the bulbs with LEDs not only use less energy and last longer, but it helps to reduce the heat. Traditional bulbs heat up more than energy efficient bulbs, in turn producing heat in the surrounding area. Remember to turn the lights off when not in use to help fight the heat.
Turn Fans into Mini “Air Conditioners”
With a standard box fan and ice, you can cool a room down fairly quick. To make your own mini “air conditioner”, place a gallon jug of frozen water in a bowl and behind a box fan and blow it towards you. This quick and easy trick works great for those without air conditioning. Just keep in mind that it will typically only cool the immediate area.
Block Out the Sun
Rooms with west and south facing windows are difficult to keep cool and once these rooms heat up, the heat eventually finds its way into the rest of your house. To help keep a sun-facing room cooler use blackout curtains, which are dark curtains with a white backing designed to reflect heat from the sun. Avoiding opening blinds and drapes during the peak times of the day when the sun is its hottest.
Overheating can happen suddenly, sometimes with very little warning, so it’s essential to stay hydrated and know the signs of heat exhaustion, which may include weakness, fatigue, heavy sweating or no sweating, nausea, rapid pulse, confusion and/or fainting. If heat exhaustion occurs, it is essential that seniors move or be moved to a cool area and provide them with cold water. It’s also helpful to place cool cloths or compresses on the back of the neck. If the person faints or cooling doesn’t occur once moved to a cooler area, call for medical assistance.
Drink Plenty of Liquids
Hydration is key for seniors since many older adults don’t drink enough liquids. As you age, that sense of thirst diminishes. So even when your body needs to be replenished with water, you might not realize it. It’s best to drink water, but if your loved one is having a difficult time drinking only water, you can mix it up with adding sugar-free flavorings to water, snack on watermelon or cucumbers, or eat popsicles. Be careful not to drink too many caffeinated drinks like soda or coffee as that can have a diuretic effect, and watch out for fruit juices as that often has a lot of added sugars, which can especially be a problem for people with diabetes.
To learn more information about tips on keeping seniors cool during the summer or for questions about home care for your senior loved ones, contact 1st Meridian Care Services.