June 12

Keep Cool This Summer

By Rick Banas of Gardant Management Solutions

Summer is here, and Gardant wants to remind you that high temperatures, especially when accompanied by high humidity, should be a concern to all of us, particularly older adults.

Here’s Why

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cites three reasons why older adults are at a much higher risk for heat-related illness or injury. Their bodies do not adjust well to sudden changes in temperature; they may have a chronic medical condition that changes their body’s response to heat; and they may be taking prescription medications that impair their body’s ability to regulate its temperature or inhibit their ability to perspire.

Young children and individuals who are sick or overweight are also among those most at risk.

Tips for Coping 

Tips for coping with the summer heat and sun include the following:

  • Stay in air conditioned buildings as much as possible.
  • Do not rely on a fan as your primary cooling device.
  • Drink more water than usual; do not wait until you are thirsty to drink. (Be sure to check with your doctor if your doctor has limited the amount of fluid you drink or if you are taking water pills.)
  • Avoid heavy meals and alcohol. Limit the amount of caffeinated beverages such as tea and coffee that you drink.
  • Keep the sunscreen handy and use it. As you age, your skin becomes more sensitive to the sun. Choose a sunscreen that offers a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. It should be a broadband UV spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB light. Be sure to apply generously.
  • Shield your skin and eyes from the harmful rays of the sun. Wear sun glasses.
  • Wear loose, light weight and light-colored clothing.
  • Take cool baths or showers. Sponge baths, ice bags and wet towels also can be helpful.
  • Install air conditioning or large fans to keep air moving. Check air conditioning ducts for proper insulation. Weather-strip your doors and window sills to keep cool air inside.
  • Cover windows that receive morning or afternoon sun with drapes, shades or awnings. Install temporary window reflectors such as aluminum foiled-covered cardboard to reflect heat back outside.
  • Visit air-conditioned restaurants and malls.
  • Know the signs of hyperthermia and heat stroke. Seek medical help immediately if you think that you or someone else have the signs of a heat-related illness.

Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke

During the summer, when the temperatures are high, the CDC encourages us to visit at-risk, older adults at least twice a day and to be sure to watch for signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

The symptoms of heat exhaustion can include heavy sweating, rapid breathing and a pulse that is fast and weak. To help overcome heat exhaustion, drink cool non-alcoholic beverages; rest; take a cool shower, bath or sponge bath; seek an air conditioned environment; and wear light-weight clothing.

Heat stroke is a life threatening illness in which a person’s body temperature can rise above 106 degrees in minutes. Symptoms can include red, hot and dry skin (no sweating; a rapid strong pulse; throbbing headaches; dizziness; nausea; confusion; and unconsciousness.

Until medical help arrives, get the person to a shady area and cool the victim using whatever methods you can such as a cool tub of water, a cool shower, cool water from a garden hose or a cool sponge bath.

Cooling Off

To cool off during heat emergencies, seek a Cooling Center near you. You can also visit a Gardant community near you. For a map of where our assisted living, senior living and memory care communities are located, Click Here.

One of the included amenities that takes on so much added importance at our communities when heat warnings and advisories are in effect is air conditioning. The cost of utilities, like air conditioning, is included in the monthly fee.

In addition, in our assisted living and memory care communities, certified nursing assistants are on duty 24-hours a day, seven days a week. They work under the direction of a licensed nurse. Conducting a daily welfare check on each resident is just one of their responsibilities.

An emergency alert system comes standard with each of our assisted living apartments, and three-restaurant-style meals are also among the included services. Snacks and beverages are available whenever the dining room is not open.

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