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How can I keep a senior citizen safe during the summer?

Maureen Q. Russell, MPH, RN
Geriatric Medicine

Hot summer weather can be a challenge for all of us. While taking care of an elder in the summer, make sure you're taking care of yourself, too. A healthy caregiver is the best thing you can offer. An elder may seem less bothered by the heat - and continue to dress in multiple layers of clothing despite the temp. Encourage them to remove sweaters, etc. Keep the home environment cool and ventilated. Heed weather advisories. If authorities recommend avoiding out door activities, use a local mall for a bit of walking exercise in a cool environment.

Movie theatres can be a great escape from the heat, too. Hydration can also become an issue. Encourage water and other non-caffeinated/non-alcoholic beverages (they can be de-hydrating). Consult the elder's healthcare provider before offering sports drinks, i.e.: Gatorade, but it can be an option, especially when alternating with water. For elders who are reluctant to drink a full glass at a time; try offering a shot glass of water with every TV commercial break. (Trust me, this can work.) Take a water bottle (one for each of you) when travelling about. The same goes for sunglasses, a sun hat, and sunscreen. Last but not least, enjoy the summer and your elder's company.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.