Aging adults need to be cognizant of heat stroke since their bodies do not adjust to high temperatures like they once did. This causes them to be more susceptible to dehydration. It is especially critical for adults with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease because they may not realize that they are overheating and need to cool down. Sadly, 36% of heat-related deaths reported in the United States were of people over 65. To keep aging adults comfortable and safe, here are some ways to help them stay cool.
- Make sure they drink plenty of cold water throughout the day. It is also a good idea for them to avoid caffeine or alcohol.
- Cook them light cold meals, such as chicken or pasta salad, instead of heavy, greasy meals.
- For a snack, give them popsicles low in sugar; you could even make the popsicles yourself or use frozen fruits like berries or grapes.
- If their house does not cool down enough, take them to a place you know the air conditioning will be cool, such as a mall, senior center, or library.
- Keep a cool washcloth on the back of their neck and a bowl of ice-cold water nearby to replenish the towel’s coolness. You could also have them keep their feet in a basin of cool water.
- If the washcloth method is not working, put them in a cool shower or bath.
For optimal cooling, the recommended water temperature should be right below the body temperature.
- If there is not already an air conditioning unit in the adult’s primary sitting area, check into investing in one. You can also find places that will rent them if that is a better financial decision. This will have a tremendous impact on cooling them down.
- If you cannot afford an air conditioning unit, check into neighboring senior centers to see if any have been donated. During sweltering months, cities will often have donation drives specifically so aging adults can receive a unit.
- Keep the shades drawn during the hottest parts of the day. Also, look into inexpensive curtains called mylar solar curtains. These curtains keep UV rays from penetrating through the glass as harshly.
- Dress them in lightweight, breathable fabrics.
At Next Day Access, we specialize in keeping aging adults and people with disabilities comfortable and safe in their homes. We offer products specifically designed to make life easier for them. We encourage you to contact a Next Day Access near you to see the many ways we can help.