We all remember last summer. Prolonged warm weather saw most of the UK bask in one of the hottest summers of recent memory. Public parks were flooded with sun-seekers topping up their tans.
The sales of ice lollies, water and fizzy drinks skyrocketed, men lived in the shorts at the weekend – some, we assume for the first time since childhood! – and indoor electric fans presumably created an added expense to all our electric bills.
As welcoming as last summer was for many of us across the UK, there is one demographic of people that took a more cautious approach to the summer season – those of advanced age. When the temperature rises, it’s paramount that a caring Manchester nursing home, like Flixton Manor, does whatever is necessary to protect the health of residents.
The older we become, the less efficient our body becomes at regulating our own temperature, and this can be exacerbated by certain medication. Some individuals are at greater risk of developing health complications during a sustained period of warmer weather. Dementia patients, people living with heart problems, or who have reduced mobility must take especially good care of themselves when the temperature soars.
So, as we’re entering the summer months and given that last summer was one of the hottest on record for a long while, we thought it prudent to remind everyone of the importance of looking after residents living independently or in an old people home, should the sun have his hat on for weeks on end in the coming months.
How do you care for those of advanced age during a heatwave? Continue reading to find out.
Create a Cool Environment
As simple as it may sound, creating a cool environment is integral to caring for the elderly during a heatwave. Create an air-conditioned or well-shaded area (if outside) and encourage those of advanced age to rest there.
Fans can be a Godsend. Wafting cool air into an environment will counteract any heat and humidity and provide an environment which those of advanced years can better regulate their own temperature. Also, when the sun reaches its peak of the day, close any blinds or shut curtains to reduce exterior heat from filling an indoor environment. This will reduce heat penetration by as much as 80%.
Extra Care for Elevated Risk Residents
Any Manchester nursing home – or care home in the UK – will have some residents that require an elevated amount of care. This duty is no more apparent than in times of extreme temperature.
An astute and caring old people home will consult physicians immediately if they believe that a resident’s health is even slightly jeopardised by an increase in temperature. However, there are several cases when keeping an eye on patients with ongoing health complications is paramount in the warm summer heat.
Residents with cardiovascular diseases or other chronic health conditions, including pulmonary afflictions need to be closely monitors. So too do residents with acute sickness, are overweight and who suffer with emotional illnesses.
Moreover, extra care during the warm summer months for residents of a nursing home should also be provided for anyone on medication that interacts with the brain and its central nerve system), have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease or who is medicated for a mental health disorder. Some medications for these illnesses can increase sensitivity to heat stress.
No matter how old a person is, remaining properly hydrated during times of increased temperature is imperative. However, residents living in a Manchester nursing home may be less capable of regulating their body temperature which makes hydration paramount.
To do this, residents need to be drinking 8-10 cups of water a day – even if they don’t feel thirsty. Dehydration can be deceitful. Just because your mouth isn’t bone dry or you don’t feel like you need to take a drink doesn’t mean that you’re not at risk from becoming dehydrated.
It’s also important to remember that sweet, sugary or fizzy drinks are not an adequate substitute for water. Tea and coffee should also be reduced. Why? As delightful as a nice cup of tea is, it doesn’t quench your thirst like water can.
Also, preparing and serving light, balanced meals in an old people home during a heatwave is wise. Heat may reduce general appetite, but that doesn’t mean that our bodies don’t require the necessary nutrients – if anything, in a slightly weakened state, we may need them more now than ever.
These are the simple actions that any knowledgeable nursing home will take in the hot summer temperature. Keeping those of advanced age cool, comfortable, well hydrated whilst administering more care and attention to those that may require it will keep them safe and happy even if the hot weather outside is utterly stifling.
Flixton Manor is a Manchester nursing home that’s synonymous with progressive care. We have more than 26 years’ experience improving the quality of life of our residents. Learn more about us today by calling 0161 746 7175, where one of our friendly staff would be happy to help you.