Seniors need to be more aware of overheating and heat stroke because their bodies don’t adjust to high temperatures as well and they’re also more likely to be dehydrated.
Seniors with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia are at even greater risk because they may not be aware that they’re overheating or know what to do to cool down.
In fact, 36% of heat-related deaths in the U.S. were among people over age 65, according to a CDC report.
To keep seniors safe and comfortable, we’ve rounded up 10 practical, senior-friendly ways to help them stay cool indoors.
Tips to Keep Cool
- Drink plenty of cool water throughout the day (don’t wait until they feel thirsty) and avoid alcohol and caffeine.
- Eat cooling snacks like homemade popsicles that are light on sugar (Tip: catch drips with a cupcake liner), frozen peas, or slightly frozen grapes.
- Eat light, cold meals like chicken or pasta salad instead of heavy, hot dishes like pot roast.
- Place a cool washcloth on the back of the neck and a pan of cool water close by to periodically re-cool the towel.
- Sit with feet in a pan of cool (but not too cold) water.
- Keep the house as cool as possible by keeping shades closed during the hottest part of the day and using inexpensive mylar solar curtains.
- Wear layers of lightweight clothing in light-colored, breathable fabrics like cotton so it’s easy to adjust to the temperature throughout the day by removing or adding layers.
- Visit a public cooling center like a recreation center, senior center, library, coffee shop, or shopping mall.
- Take a cool shower, bath, or washcloth wipe-down. For maximum cooling, keep the water just below body temperature.
- Cover up with a flexible ice blanket – always use a towel to protect fragile senior skin from direct contact with the ice.