AlzU Blog

Tips for Caregivers on How to Beat the Summer Heat

As extreme weather, in the form of scorching temperatures, occurs across the country, more and more Americans are living in areas where they are vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate extremes. 

Each and every summer literally thousands of people in the U.S. die of heat stroke, dehydration and other heat related conditions, and a high percentage of those folks are seniors.  At Alzheimer’s Universe, we can’t stress enough the importance of taking preventative measures against the heat, for your loved one with Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

Seniors are more susceptible to the effects of heat because they have physically lost their body’s efficiency in being able to cool off.  It takes much longer for seniors to recovery from negative effects of heat exposure
Here are some tips to help you keep your loved one with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) safe from the effects of extreme heat this summer.

1.The indoor temperature should never exceed 85 degrees.

2.Evaluate the home or living space for good ventilation.  Add fans if air isn’t circulating well enough.

3.If safety is a concern, there are affordable safety latches available to keep windows safely locked, while still allowing for a breeze to come through the home.  Opening windows on opposing sides of the room will ensure the best cross breeze ventilation from the outdoors.

4.When high humidity levels accompany extreme temperatures, air conditioning is a must.  If your loved one doesn’t have central air, consider a small window unit to cool at least one area of the house where he/she can reside when temperatures soar-preferable in the sleeping area.

5.If night time temperatures are cool, consider the option of visiting public places during the day that have air conditioning-such as senior centers, adult day centers or libraries.

6.If air conditioning isn’t an option at all, consider moving your senior loved one in with a family member on a temporary basis- during the hottest summer months.

7.Encourage your loved one to take a cool shower to lower body temperature if needed.

8.Be aware that specific types of medications can increase the risk of heat related conditions in seniors.  Consult with you physician regarding your loved one’s medication regime puts him/her in a higher risk category for heat related illnesses.

9.Limit your loved one’s intake of caffeinated and alcoholic drinks, including soda, coffee and caffeinated tea, when it’s extremely hot-these substances can cause an increased risk of dehydration.

10.Ensure that your loved one is being checked on frequently during the hot summer months to ensure adequate fluid intake (in general 8 or more 8 oz. glasses of fluid per day is recommended).  Offer lots of juicy fruits such as peaches, oranges and watermelon.  Keep plenty of cold drinks available at all times.

11.Make sure your loved one with AD wears light colored, light weight, loose fitting clothing (and plenty of sunscreen outdoors) in the summer.

12.Encourage your loved one to stay indoors when temperatures rise above 85 degrees.

13.Be sure to check with the physician regarding the specific amount of fluid intake that is recommended for your loved one with AD.  In some cases, fluid restricted diets are indicated due to heart or kidney disease, or other medical conditions.

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