Hot weather and sunshine are finally here! While warmer temperatures are always welcome after a long. cold winter, heat can be difficult for older adults. Seniors tend to have more issues with hot weather than younger folks, so you’ll want to up your game when it comes to giving the seniors in your community a helping hand this summer.
Whether it’s your grandmother or the nice older gentleman who lives down the block, don’t forget that seniors in your neighborhood may need some additional assistance at the temperatures rise.
Heat and the Toll it Takes on Seniors
You may have heard of heat exhaustion before, but you might not realize just how serious this condition can be. Heat exhaustion happens when someone is exposed to high temperatures for a longer duration of time without the ability to rehydrate.
This can happen in a car, in a home without air conditioning, or even outside on a really hot day.
Once a person’s body temperature reaches 104 degrees, cellular damage begins after about thirty minutes. For seniors, the mix of high temperatures, medications, and high blood pressure can be a combination with deadly consequences.
How You Can Help Seniors in Your Neighborhood
There are many small things you can do that will help older adults in your area to make it through the summer months more comfortably and with fewer issues.
- Make Sure Seniors Are Staying Cool: First off, it’s important to make sure the seniors in your life have adequate air conditioning and fans. This is especially important for seniors who are housebound.
In Georgia, a group called Senior Citizens Inc. has a fan drive each year to help collect and distribute fans and air conditioners to seniors who need them. The group was surprised to find was just how many seniors don’t have some way to keep their homes cool. This can happen in any community, in any city or state.
- Keeping Seniors Hydrated: This summer, take the time to find out that the seniors around you have working air conditioning or fans. Stop by and bring a couple bottles of water with you, as well. This will help keep them hydrated and provide them with a little social engagement, too.
- Help Them With Their Lawn: In addition, consider offering to mow a senior’s lawn for free. Chances are they don’t have the extra cash to hire someone, and in some areas, a homeowner can be fined if they don’t keep their lawns mowed. Overgrown lawns can give pests such as ticks and fleas a place to live. These pests can carry diseases, as well.
- Offer Them a Ride: If you see an older adult waiting for the bus, you should think about stopping and offering them a ride to their destination. If it’s on your way, this shouldn’t be an inconvenience. Besides, sitting in the hot sun waiting for a bus is difficult for anyone but can be more so for a senior adult.
Some other things you can do for seniors during the summer months include offering to take them to the movies or the mall. Both places tend to be super cool in the summer and they will provide them with an activity they can enjoy outside of their home.
Finally, you might make a meal for an older loved one in your life and deliver it to them, so they don’t have to turn on their oven which can really heat up a house during the hot months.
In the end, what is most important is to take the time to look around and think about the older adults in your life and community and ask yourself if there is some small thing you can do to help make the summer more manageable for them. In the end, they will truly appreciate the help and you’ll feel good about yourself for giving it.
Can you think of any other ways to help seniors or tips for keeping seniors safe during the summer? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!