New Delhi: Save the elderly at your home from adverse effects of summer heat. Take them for a walk in the malls where it is cool or go swimming with them, suggest experts.
Mukesh Mehra, Senior Consultant at Department of Internal Medicine, Max Hospital, and Angeli Misra, co-founder at Lifeline Laboratory, have listed a few ways to take care of senior citizens:
* Try to plan activities that require going outside during non-peak hours when it might be a little cooler. Consider exercising at a gym, walking on a treadmill or mall walking instead of outdoor walks or activities. Swimming is a good option as well.
* Drink plenty of fluids (non-alcoholic and caffeine-free as these ingredients have a diuretic effect). Talk to your doctor if you take medications such as Lasix and other diuretics that affect fluid intake.
Additionally, it may be important to consume food and drinks with sodium and potassium to restore electrolyte balance when losing fluids. Also, drink a lot of water.
Broths or soups contain sodium, fruit juice, soft fruits, vegetables containing potassium, sports drinks that contain electrolytes, are some options.
* Stay indoors in cooled spaces as much as possible. Check the air conditioning system, do maintenance review. If electricity goes out, consider alternative arrangements when heat is at dangerous levels.
* Be aware of signs of dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
The most common signs of dehydration in the elderly are thirst, confusion, irritability and poor skin elasticity.
Keeping hydrated on a regular basis is the most important preventative measure, and individuals should be encourages to drink fluids even when not thirsty as thirst may not be triggered until already dehydrated.
* Make them wear a wide-brimmed hat if you will be out in the sun.
* Dress appropriately. Avoid dark colours because they absorb the sun's rays.
* Keep a check on their diet as it should be well-balanced, light and regular.
* Never leave them in an enclosed vehicle.
* Keep curtains closed during the heat of the day.