Older seniors,(those in their 80’s or 90’s) may be living in homes or apartments that do not have air conditioning or even window units. It is those oldest among us, who suffer the most in extreme heat. If you know someone in this situation, there are ways you can help the stay cool during hot weather.
Give them a call, or stop by to visit on hot days. This way you can ask them, or see for yourself, the temperature of their home. If they rent, you can notify the landlord if their living quarters is too hot. Make sure they open or crack windows in order to get fresh air.
Check with churches, Social Services, or the Local office on aging,( LOA). They often have programs where they will give free Window units to qualifying seniors. You can also look in pawn shops and second hand stores for good used window units and fans.
Find out the size of the individual, and purchase light cotton shirts, pants, blouses or dresses. Again you may find bargains in thrift stores, clothing pantries and churches. You could also talk to men and women who are the same size, to see if they have anything to donate.
Suggest to the older adult that they keep plenty of cool drinks, and ice on hand,(if they do not have an ice maker). When I was a child, my great grandmother made a pitcher of Kool-aid every day. Later my grandmother would make sure there were always soft drinks available on hot day.
My mother in law always had a pitcher, of Kool-aid or tea in her refrigerator. Today I keep Orange juice, tea, lemonade and or bottled water on hand, in the fridge, and a few in the freezer. I also make slushies in plastic container and keep them in the freezer.
Older adults should wear sunscreen and a summer hat when venturing outside. If they drive, they should keep a crack in each car window. This way they will not be overwhelmed by the humidity, when they first enter their vehicle. If their car air conditioning is not working, suggest they get a Freon check. In the mean time, they may want to place a towel on the seat, to prevent them from sweating.
Another idea is keeping a spritz bottle of water in the refrigerator. This is a quick way to cool anyone off. You can carry it with you, to keep your temperature down, when you are out. One of the most important things seniors need to do, is stay hydrated. Stress to them how vital it is to drink water often.
The main thing is to check often on older adults who live alone. Reinforce what they need to do to prevent dehydration and heat stroke. Be observant, because they may not always admit that anything is wrong. Let the know you care, and that they are not a burden. This way they will be able to stay cool and comfortable.