During the summer months, the weather is warmer, the days are longer and there’s barbecues a plenty. However during the warmer weather, elderly people and those living with dementia tend to become quite uncomfortable.

While overheating is uncomfortable, it can also be a problem for the elderly. Causing a number of health problems from dehydration to heat stroke, both of which are incredibly dangerous when it comes to the elderly.

As we get older, our body finds it more and more difficult to control its temperature, leading to individuals becoming dehydrated much more quickly than the younger person. The human body sweats less at it gets older, which makes it difficult to stay cool or cool down if overheated. This can be a real problem during the summer months, particularly for the elderly who are living with dementia as they mind forget to drink plenty of fluids to help stay hydrated.

Throughout the rest of this article you will find some useful hints and tips for elderly care, and keeping cool in warm weather.

Keep Cool

While you should choose your wardrobe carefully during the hot weather, keeping cool is not always about what you should wear. There are a number of factors that can help keep you and your loved one cool.

Rest

Although it is good to have an active lifestyle, during the hot weather, physical activity should be kept toa minimum. Doing too much in the hot weather, and not drinking enough can lead to dehydration, when the body is dehydrated it struggles to keep cool.

Cool Down

If you or your loved one does become a little warm, there are a number of ways to cool down. These include:

  • Have a cool bath or shower
  • Refresh with wet wipes
  • Cool flannels placed on the wrist
  • Wear light and loose clothing

You could even keep a bottle of talc nearby, if you do become hot or clammy but aren’t ready for a shower or not near a shower this can help.

Cool Foods

One way to ensure you or your loved one stays hydrated is to eat foods with a high water content, foods filled with water include cucumbers, lettuces, celery, melons, watermelons and strawberries (great for vitamin c too). You can always indulge in your favourite ice cream too.

Remind Those Living with Dementia

As memory loss is a common symptom of dementia, it is easy to forget things like drinking plenty of fluids, this can cause serious implications especially during hot weather. If you or a loved one of yours is suffering with dementia, some steps you can take to make sure that fluids are drank regularly include:

  • Ensure a brightly colour bottle or glass is topped up and within reach
  • If you struggle to swallow, purchase a reusable straw to aid with fluid drinking
  • Use bottles that show how much has been drank so you can keep an eye on the levels
  • Add fruit to the water or cold water infusions to make the water taste nicer

Keep The Home Cool

One way to ensure you stay cool is to try and keep the home cool. Opening windows and letting air flow will allow for a breeze, particularly if the outside temperature has dropped to below the inside temperature. We would also recommend keeping curtains and blinds closed, to keep direct sunlight out of the home as this will increase the temperature within the property.

You could also purchase a fan, although when it is too hot they can just circulate warm air. Portable air conditioning units could be beneficial.

Watch Out For Signs of Overheating

In particularly hot weather it is vital to know and understand the signs and symptoms that efforts to keep cool are not working. Signs and symptoms of overheating that you should be aware of include:

  • Headaches
  • Tiredness / lethargy
  • Confusion / behavioural changes
  • Feeling nauseous / sick
  • Feeling dizzy / weak / faint (including fainting)
  • Swollen ankles
  • Extreme thirst
  • Strong smelling or dark urine
  • Dry mouth, lips and eyes

If you think yourself or a loved one is suffering with overheating and possible heatstroke, be sure to seek medical advice immediately.