It’s hot outside….really hot!! Temperatures are continuing to rise as the UK goes through one of the most severe heatwaves in its history. The high temperatures, now into the 30s, is affecting everybody but it’s older people who are most at risk.
Public Health England have now urged people to help older people as much as they can in order to keep them safe and cool. High temperatures put lives at risk, especially the lives of those who suffer from medical conditions. Heat stroke a dehydration just two examples of problems which can arise.
If you have elderly neighbours, friends or loved ones, here are a few ways in-which you can protect them over summer.
1. Keep Checking on them
It only takes a few minutes to make a phone call or to pop round to your neighbour’s/friend’s/family member’s home and check on them. By doing this you could end up saving someone’s life, that’s how serious the health warnings being made are.
Keep checking to see if they’re staying out of direct sunlight during the middle of the day and that they’re aren’t putting their bodies under any unnecessary strain by doing the gardening or cleaning.
If you notice any signs that something isn’t as it should be, or if somebody complains that they’re feeling dizzy, weak, out of breath or really thirsty then it’s best to call for medical help immediately.
2. Help Older People with Daily Activities
It’s important for older people not to put too much strain on their bodies when it’s hot. Within a few short minutes their body will be suffering from the heat and there is a high risk of feeling dizzy and falling over.
Think about what tasks you could do to help:
- The supermarket shop.
- A lift to the doctors or hairdressers to ensure that they don’t have to use public transport.
- Little things such as putting the bin out and taking it in.
- Cleaning and tidying their home.
3. Keep them Hydrated
We all need to stay hydrated during the heatwave. Make sure that your loved ones have plenty of fluids in their fridge and aren’t choosing fizzy drinks, hot drinks or alcohol over water and fruit juice. The former will only make them thirstier and will not hydrate them.
If the tap water in your area isn’t suitable, perhaps you can pop to the shops and pick up a crate of bottle water instead. If your loved ones need to leave their home then ensure that they take a bottle of water with them.
4. Organise their Home
There are a few things that you can do to ensure that your older friend’s or relative’s home remains nice and cool. Examples include keeping their curtains or blinds closed in rooms which are directly facing the sun and keeping the windows closed during peak time heat – 11am-3pm. Windows can be opened again in the evenings when it cools down a little bit.
Try and locate the coolest room in the house and see if it’s suitable to stay in for a couple of hours. Outside, you could purchase or lend a parasol so that your friends can stay outside without having to be in direct sunlight. Inside, you could lend or buy a fan or two to kelp them keep cool in the living room and bedroom.
5. Let them know you’re there
Perhaps the most important thing that you can do for your elderly neighbour/friend/family member is to let them know that you are here to help them. Ensure that they have your contact details and let them know that you’re happy to help them with anything that they need.
Make the offer for them to come round and enjoy a nice cool drink with you and your family, or perhaps an evening meal so that they don’t have to go through the high temperatures caused by cooking in their kitchen.
One little kind gesture could save lives this summer!
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