Jon Huffman talks to Jaime Maxwell about the in-home elderly care service and its recommendations for keeping seniors safe from the summer heat.
What’s in the ‘Senior Summer Safety Kit?’ – (contents optional)
- Reusable water bottle to maintain hydration
- Copies of all prescriptions and health insurance cards
- Phone numbers of health care providers and information concerning chronic health problems
- Broad spectrum sunscreen, at least SPF 30, to prevent serious burns
- Snap Towels that activate with water and have a cooling effect when applied to the skin
- Misting fans that require no electricity in case of a power outage
- An ID bracelet with personal information and emergency contact numbers
- A pre-paid cell phone for seniors to use in an emergency
The Senior Summer Safety Kit can be easily purchased and assembled for $25 – $50 in less than 15 minutes.
How Visiting Angels “Summer Safety Caregivers” Help Seniors
Visiting Angels caregivers come to the home to help with chores like cooking or yard work which can be strenuous in the heat. They also make sure seniors take proper precautions to beat the heat.
- Wear Lightweight, Loose Fitting Clothes – Caregivers help with laundry and can make sure seniors have enough clean, lightweight loose clothes to stay cool.
- Drink up! – Caregivers remind seniors to drink water throughout the course of the day, even if they’re not particularly thirsty (eight, 8oz. glasses at least). As adults continue to age, the amount of water retained by the body decreases substantially. Caregivers fill water bottles and keep coolers well stocked. They can even make “mock tails” – drinks the senior enjoys like lemonade or fruit juice mixtures – which do not include caffeine or alcohol.
- Stay cool – Caregivers close blinds and curtains keeping the house cool, even in triple digit temperatures. Caregivers also have battery operated/hand-held fans readily available to keep their seniors comfortable. Most seniors are budget-conscious, so it’s important for caregivers to be sure the AC is set to a proper, cool level and it’s working. Caregivers can also be responsible to check filters once a month.
- Stay in air conditioning in the afternoon – The hottest part of the day is from 3-5 p.m. Caregivers provide inside activities like playing cards, going to movies, the mall or the library to keep seniors active inside to avoid spending time outside during the most dangerous hours of the day.
- Eat plenty, but eat light – Caregivers prepare light food because heavy foods, like meat and cheese, tend to make the body work harder to digest, using more water and generating more body heat.
- Help With ‘Late Sundown Syndrome’ (periods of agitation in the evening for seniors with dementia) – Caregivers help by keeping seniors active in the day so they’re tired-out at night and can go to sleep with no problem. Caregivers also keep seniors on steady nap and bedtime schedules so their bodies get used to the routine.
- Follow new sunscreen guidelines – Caregivers are well versed on the FDA’s newly released guidelines about sun protection. Seniors are more prone to sunburn because their bodies have less water. Caregivers educate seniors about these new regulations such as there’s no such thing as “sweat proof” or “water proof” sunscreen. Or, that you must re-apply sunscreen every two hours for it to work effectively.
- Copies of health care information – In case of emergency, caregivers have copies of seniors’ prescriptions, health insurance card, and phone numbers of health care providers.
For more information on Visiting Angels or to find a location near you, please visit www.visitingangels.com.