Being a caregiver can leave you in the hot seat even in the best of times. But during the summer months, special cautions must be taken to protect your loved one. Here are some of the hottest tips for caregiving outdoors when the temperature rises.
Screen for the sun
Sunscreen should be mandatory for anyone who spends significant time outdoors. But it’s especially important to seniors, who may have skin that’s more delicate and fragile. To protect them from harmful UV rays, slather them with sunscreen that has an SPF of at least 30.
Go out when the time is right
The temperature is hottest from 10 am to 4 pm, when the sun is at its highest point in the sky. If you can, plan spending time outside with your loved one around those hours. They’ll be less likely to suffer ill effects from the heat.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Getting enough water is just as important for your loved one as it is for you. But certain seniors, such as those with dementia, may not be able to tell you when they’re thirsty. In fact, they may not even realize they’re dehydrated. Make sure they drink water on a regular schedule even if they’re not thirsty. While water is the best choice, fruit juice and sports drinks can also help keep you hydrated. Avoid caffeinated beverages, as they can make you more dehydrated.
Dress for the weather
Wear loose, light-colored clothing that will help you stay cool in the heat. Avoid wearing heavy fabrics or dark colors, which can absorb heat and make you feel hotter. Long sleeves can help protect the skin (in addition to sunscreen). A hat is also a good addition to protect your head from the sun’s rays. Choose a hat with a wide brim all the way around. A ball cap will protect the eyes and face but not the ears or neck. And don’t forget sunglasses!
Choose cool foods
There are certain foods that can help you stay cool during the hot summer months. Watermelon is a great choice, as it is mostly water and will help you stay hydrated. Cucumbers are also a good option, as they have a high water content and can help to reduce inflammation. Salad greens, such as spinach and kale, are also good choices, as they are low in calories and high in nutrients. Cold cuts, such as turkey or chicken, can be a refreshing option for a hot summer day. Dairy products, such as yogurt or ice cream, can also help to cool you down.
What are YOUR favorite tips for caregiving in the heat?