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08 Jul 2023

The Do's and Don'ts for Seniors During Hot Temperatures


As the temperature rises, it's important to take extra precautions to ensure the well-being of elderly loved ones during hot weather. Older adults are more vulnerable to heat-related illnesses, following the do's and don'ts below, let's ensure their safety and comfort in the warmer months!

The Do's:

  1. Stay Hydrated: Encourage your loved ones to drink plenty of fluids, even if they don't feel thirsty. Opt for water, fruit juices, and herbal teas while avoiding sugary or caffeinated beverages. Keeping the body hydrated helps regulate body temperature and prevents dehydration, a common issue during hot weather.

  2. Dress Appropriately: Choose lightweight, loose-fitting clothing made from breathable fabrics such as cotton or linen. Light-coloured clothing reflects sunlight and can help keep the body cool. Wearing a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses when going outdoors provides additional protection against harmful UV rays.

  3. Seek Shade and Stay Indoors: Encourage your loved one to stay indoors during the hottest parts of the day, typically between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If they need to go outside, advise them to seek shade whenever possible. Air-conditioned spaces offer the best protection from excessive heat, so it's advisable to spend time in cool environments such as malls, community centres, or public libraries.

  4. Use Sunscreen: Apply sunscreen with a high SPF (Sun Protection Factor) before going outdoors, even on cloudy days. Seniors should use broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Remind them to reapply sunscreen every two hours and after swimming or excessive sweating.

  5. Keep the Environment Cool: Ensure that living spaces are kept cool by using fans or air conditioners. If air conditioning is not available, keep windows open and use fans to promote air circulation. Consider using damp towels or taking cool showers to reduce body temperature.

The Don'ts:

  1. Avoid Strenuous Activities: Encourage loved ones to avoid strenuous physical activities. Overexertion can lead to heat exhaustion or heatstroke. Instead, suggest engaging in lighter exercises or indoor activities that promote mental stimulation and physical well-being.

  2. Don't Overexpose to the Sun: Direct sun exposure for long periods can lead to sunburn, heatstroke, or heat exhaustion. Advise your loved one to avoid spending excessive time under the sun, especially during peak hours. If they do go outside, recommend using umbrellas or wearing protective clothing to shield them from direct sunlight.

  3. Don't Rely Solely on Fans: While fans can provide temporary relief, they do not lower the temperature or reduce humidity. In extremely hot weather, fans may circulate hot air, which can be detrimental to seniors' health. Encourage the use of air conditioning or seek cooler environments when necessary.

  4. Don't Ignore Warning Signs: Educate your loved one and their caregivers about the warning signs of heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Symptoms include dizziness, rapid heartbeat, nausea, confusion, and headache. If any of these signs are observed, it's crucial to seek medical attention immediately.

  5. Don't Consume Excessive Alcohol or Caffeine: Alcoholic beverages and caffeine can contribute to dehydration. Encourage seniors to limit their consumption of these drinks during hot weather. Water and hydrating fluids should be the primary choice to maintain proper hydration.