Tips For Staying Safe in The Summer Heat From an Aurora Nursing Home

Help Your Loved One Beat The Heat and Stay Hydrated

Dehydration and Its Affect To Your Senior Loved Ones

Summer is coming in hot–literally! With temperatures rising, it’s important to understand how to take care of your loved ones who may not be able to communicate their needs to you. Seniors with memory challenges often struggle with being able to tell you if they are overheating, which is why dehydration becomes such an issue for them. They may simply forget to drink because they are not as sensitive to thirst, or they may have difficulty remembering the complete process of how to get a drink, such as turning on the faucet, where to get a cup, or how to get the water in the cup. In addition to being dehydrating, the heat can make your loved ones experience discomfort and distress. Here are some tips and tricks from Belleview Heights Assisted Living and Memory Care community in Aurora, CO, on how to make sure your loved one stays cool and comfortable this summer.

How to Recognize if Your Loved One is Dehydrated

It’s extremely important to recognize when your loved one is dehydrated so that you can help them get the fluids that their body needs to function correctly. Although they may struggle to let you know when they need something to drink, or just don’t know they need it, there are multiple signs and symptoms that you can look out for to recognize when they’re dehydrated. Increased confusion and changes in usual behavior are often the first signs of dehydration. Other signs related to lack of hydration include:

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Agitation
  • Muscle cramping
  • Dark, strong-smelling urine, and not urinating often
  • Dry mouth, lips, and eyes
  • Headaches, dizziness, or nausea

Tips for Preventing Dehydration

Dehydration can have many negative effects on the body, and it’s more common in the summer. It’s necessary to be proactive when it comes to keeping your loved one with dementia hydrated–don’t assume they will ask for a drink.

Here are tips to help prevent your loved one with memory loss from becoming dehydrated:

  • Leave water within easy reach
  • Make hydrating easier–use a bright colored cup to draw attention, add straws, and keep it accessible
  • Make hydrating a social thing–have a cup of tea, glass of water, or popsicle with them!
  • Leave reminders–place sticky notes and set alarm clocks to encourage hydrating
  • Provide food with high water content–fruit, soup, ice cream, Jell-O, apple sauce, etc.
  • Avoid letting them be outside for extended periods of time
  • Bring a fan outside to help prevent them from overheating
  • Encourage them to seek shade when going outside

Tips to Help Your Loved One Stay Comfortable in the Heat

Not only are seniors with memory challenges prone to becoming dehydrated because of the summer heat, but they may also experience discomfort and not be able to articulate why or resolve the issue themselves. Here are 5 tips to help your loved one enjoy the summer heat while staying comfortable and avoiding overheating:

  • Wear appropriate clothing–light-colored, loose-fitting clothes and a hat are good choices
  • Keep their house/room a comfortable temperature–consider closing the blinds during the day
  • Avoid the midday sun (11 am-3 pm), as this is often the hottest part of the day
  • Help them apply sunscreen to protect their skin from sunburn
  • Cool off–encourage them to take cold baths/showers, put cool washcloths on their neck, and head indoors after a reasonable time outside.

Be sure to keep these tips and tricks in mind to help your loved one stay cool and comfortable this summer!

To learn more about residency or to schedule a tour of Belleview Heights, contact our friendly team today.

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