Looking after elderly people in hot weather
It seems like the Great British Summer has finally caught up with us (well, for now anyway, it might not last long!). For many of us, that means days on the beach, ice creams and pub gardens, but the hot weather is not good news for everyone. For certain groups of people, including older people (particularly over the age of 75), babies and young children, and people with some illnesses and conditions, a prolonged bout of warm weather can cause serious complications
If you have elderly relatives or neighbours, it’s important to make sure that they are prepared for hot weather and that they are okay during the hot period itself. Here we have put together some top tips of things you can do to help:
1. Get prepared
During the summer months, when temperatures are most likely to rise, it is worth helping your elderly relative or neighbour to be organised so that they are ready for sudden bouts of warm weather or heatwaves occurring. This means having some bottles of water stored, and ice in the freezer. Make sure that there is an electric fan within easy access, and some basic supplies to avoid having to do shopping during the day.
2. Keep rooms cool
When warm weather hits, draw the curtains as this will stop the sun coming in and warming up the room. You can open the windows to let air in to help keep the room cooler. Some rooms will be hotter than others, so pick the coolest and make sure essential supplies are kept in here. Plug a fan in to help move the air around if needed.
3. Wear the right clothes
Wear loose clothing in lightweight fabrics when it is hot, as tight-fitting clothes will increase body temperature. You could help an elderly relative/neighbour by picking out some key outfits and keep them within easy reach. Lighter colours are also best, and a hat/sunglasses should be worn when outdoors.
4. Help with supplies
It is best if your elderly relative/neighbour stays inside when it is particularly hot, at the very least when the sun is highest between 11am and 3pm. You can help by offering to get some bits from the shop or pick up medications so that they don’t need to leave.
5. Check in
Check in regularly during hot weather spells. The elderly person may be feeling lonely if they are indoors, so offer to stay and chat or play a game for a bit. Make them a cold drink to ensure that they stay hydrated. If you are worried about their health, contact a GP for advice.
For some good advice on what to do in a heatwave (a prolonged period of particularly hot weather), there is a good page on the NHS website.