We hope you had a wonderful Memorial Day! As we celebrated the heroes who gave their lives for our country, many of us also celebrated the symbolic start of summer with cookouts, trips to the beach and fun with family and friends. We kick off the summer season here at Aging Wisely with some friendly tips and information for helping the seniors in your life stay safe and healthy (as well as some special advice for caregivers).
Heat-Related Illness and Seniors
Heat affects seniors more than younger counterparts and the effects can be worse based on the individual’s medical conditions and medications. Dehydration is a common problem in the elderly. It is vital the seniors stay well-hydrated and keep cool.
- Caregivers should monitor fluid intake and watch for signs of dehydration. Because an elder may sense thirst less, the “pinch” test (checking the elasticity of the skin) can be useful. Prevention is the best option, though, so if your loved one or client does not like water, make an effort to find hydrating beverages (and foods, like fruits, cucumber, lettuce) that he/she likes.
- Plan indoor activities, especially during the prime heat of the day. Our EasyLiving caregivers offer some great ideas for cool, fun senior-friendly indoor activities here.
Hurricane Season and Home Safety
Throughout this month, we’ve been sharing information on preparing for hurricane season on this blog and our EasyLiving blog. Please make sure your loved one is prepared for the storm season properly. Contact us if you are not sure how to go about that or want help. This is a vital issue since elders suffer injury and death at disproportionate levels during natural disasters.
This is also a good time of year to do a general home safety inspection. Ensure air conditioning units are in good working order and make sure your loved one has fans to help circulate air. Help with yard and home maintenance and of course, the storm readiness of the house. Many elders still attempt to do home repairs that may be more dangerous now (climbing on the roof, being out in the heat doing yard work) so try to be proactive in finding out what is needed. Seniors in Florida also fall victim to frequent home improvement scams, so help be your loved one’s eyes and ears or hire a local elder advocate. Start summer safely with a home assessment and falls prevention review.
Snowbird Migration: Reduced Support Systems
In Florida, many active retirees still go back and forth between two locations and will spend most of the summer up north. Additionally, many neighbors take vacations or travel during the summer months. This often leaves Florida seniors with a reduced support system.
Vacation Issues: Caregiver Respite and Planning a Trip with an Elder
It is vital for caregivers to get a break, but too often the idea is overwhelming. Since summer is a traditional vacation time, it is worth reminding caregivers that there are ways to make respite work well so you can get away and truly relax. This can vary from short breaks where you just take a few hours to do errands or a favorite activity to extended trips. With good preparation, you can get a break and your loved one can be assured excellent care. You can get a care manager involved to oversee the care and act as your liaison while you are gone, providing you the peace of mind to enjoy yourself.
We also help many clients with planning trips for or with their elderly loved one. It is essential to plan the logistics and consider all the little things that can make or break the trip. We can help you think through ways to modify the trip to be more comfortable and safe, so that your good intentions don’t end in a disaster. If your loved one has dementia, the changes in routine can be very upsetting. This does not mean a vacation or trip is not possible; it just takes some planning and modification. Our care managers can help you assess your loved one’s status with an expert view, to know what makes sense and what doesn’t.
Check out some of our Tips for a Smooth Journey with a Senior and keep an eye out for our upcoming features on traveling with a person with Alzheimer’s/dementia.
Stay safe and cool this summer! We’re here to help anytime: contact us online or call 727-447-5845. Our Senior Care Consultant will provide a complimentary consultation and we can assist on any of the issues above, plus tons of resources from our senior care experts.