When a summer heat wave hits the Boston suburbs around Concord and Waltham, you’ll hear news media pleas to check in on elderly neighbors living alone. As a teenager you may have wondered why the elderly are so very vulnerable in the summer heat. Why would a parent over 70 who’s living alone need home helpers in the hot summer months?
As they age, a lot of seniors lose the ability to sense temperature fluctuations on their skin, and to notice they are perspiring. So they don’t realize when they are overheated, or take note of perspiration, another warning sign they’re getting too hot. Old people have been found suffocating in hot rooms with the windows closed, because they either cannot open them or have convinced themselves the windows don’t open.
Summer Threats Boston Home Helpers Watch For
Dehydration is a major health risk for the elderly. temporary Home Care professionals are trained to notice when an older person in their care is overheating and to keep them hydrated. Overexposure to the sun’s rays can lead to skin cancer, even in seniors who have lived in sunny climates for decades. Did you know that 2 million Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer every year, making it the most common form of cancer in the USA? Home helpers should have the experience to recognize common skin conditions of older people and how to alleviate or avoid them.
Heat Brings Sunburn and Spoiled Food, Too.
When Julia’s mother now in her 80’s, was young, no-one talked about getting skin cancer from sunburn. She feels no urgency to apply sunscreen. It took her years to get used to wearing a sunhat. Both are essential to avoid sunburn and heat stroke. The caregivers make sure Julia’s mother does both, drinks plenty of water, and sits in the shade. They throw away any food that’s been left out in the hot kitchen, and notify Julia of mosquito breeding standing water in the yard.
Summer Skin Care Tips for Seniors
As we age, skin becomes less supple, thinner and dryer. Showering or being bathed too frequently can lead to dry, itchy summer skin and that can lead to skin infections. Use only mild soaps and ask the caregiver to supervise applying moisturizer after every bath. Avoid hot dry places like saunas, and above all, make sure your aging parent is drinking lots of water!
For more information on summer, temporary or long-term senior home care in MetroWest Boston, contact MinuteWomen, Inc. Home Care or download our free e-Book now.