We’re used to the idea of “winterizing” a home to prepare for the short cold days of the winter months. Many people, however, are unfamiliar with the concept of “summerizing”. If you’re providing home care for a senior loved one, it’s just as important that you take the necessary steps to ensure that their home is as safe and comfortable when it’s hot as it is throughout the year. In fact, illnesses due to extreme heat such as heatstroke and heat exhaustion are the most common types of weather-related deaths among seniors.
Simple Steps to Prepare a Loved One’s Home for Summer
While most heat-related illnesses occur when working or exercising outside, a home’s interior can also become dangerously warm. Here are few things you can do to protect the senior in your life:
- Check the home’s air conditioner to make sure it’s working properly. If they lack central air, purchase a window unit so they’re never totally left without AC.
- If your loved one is hesitant to use the AC because of cost, contact your local Area Agency on Aging to see what kind of federal, state, and local assistance may be available.
- If air conditioning isn’t an option, be sure to open the windows during early morning and evening hours to allow for as much cool air as possible. Close the drapes to block out the sun during the day, and purchase fans if necessary.
- Inspect your loved one’s wardrobe to make sure they have lightweight, loose-fitting garments available — ideally made of cotton and linen, which are the coolest materials.
Monitor the Situation
If you’re the family member most responsible for home care, then it’ll be up to you to check in on how your parent is doing whenever it’s particularly hot. If you notice that your loved one’s home is too hot no matter what you do, then make arrangements for them to spend their daytime hours somewhere else. That could mean taking them to a friend’s home, or to a local library or senior center.
Get Help with a Home Caregiver
There are several ways an at-home caregiver can help during times of severe summer weather. By providing daily home care, a caregiver can:
- Adjust the AC, shades, and fans as necessary.
- Provide transportation for your loved one to a cooler location.
- Go grocery shopping and prepare meals.
- Make sure your loved one is always hydrated.
- Overseeing your loved one’s safety while they exercise or engage in outdoor activities.
- Provide assistance with bathing and dressing to ensure that they’re always comfortable.
- Regularly monitor their health on behalf of family members.
If you have further questions, or would like help with your family’s home care needs, don’t hesitate to contact the professionals at Home Care Assistance of Greater Burlington.