20 Jul At long Last SUMMER!
It could be climate change, it could be that we forget what it’s like from year to year, but the summer heat seems to have come on with a vengeance this year. No complaints since we waited all winter for the hot weather, but now that it has arrived, we must look after each and enjoy it while taking a few precautions.
Make sure that you check in on seniors, friends, loved ones and vulnerable individuals who may be living independently, or who may have become more isolated than usual because of the COVID-19 situation. Those who had been receiving regularly scheduled homecare services may have had these visits cut back or discontinued in the past. Restrictions of physical distancing are easing, but we must still be vigilant. Sometimes, for seniors and others, these visits by home healthcare workers and therapists provided not only therapeutic benefits, but also served as a much needed social connection. Since these services may not be up to their regular routine for frequent visits, it is crucial that someone do regular check-ins with seniors and those with physical and cognitive issues to make sure that they are taking care of themselves in the hot summer weather.
Dehydration is a very real danger. Not drinking enough fluids during the hot weather can have serious consequences as it can affect many of the body’s systems. Sometimes due to cognitive issues, such as diminished sense of thirst, or being unable to physically access drinks, vulnerable individuals may not have the ability to keep themselves hydrated. Make sure that they have plenty of cool drinks available to sip on throughout the day. Remember, you can be dehydrated without being thirsty. Some symptoms of dehydration to watch out for, among others, are rapid breathing, confusion and disorientation. An attractive hydration bottle to carry with you that you fill each morning may remind you to have a drink whenever you look at it. You can also set alarms on your phone every couple of hours when it is time to have a drink. If you do not care for plain water, there are many things you can add to your water bottle for a change of taste, like cut up fresh fruits or cucumber and mint.
An OT or other healthcare provider can offer additional summer safety tips for seniors and other at risk individuals.