by francy Dickinson www.seniorcarewithspirit.com
Dear Francy: Dad is in hospital, dehydration. His apartment was like a steam bath when I arrived, how can I get him to use the air conditioning and drink water!
This is what happens every time the temp goes up, seniors go down. Even young seniors get over heated. So, I have a list of ideas to try:
- There are great neck scarves that keep you cool and they are easy to make. Go to this site and enjoy the info – Make a few extras for senior friends and those that garden http://tinyurl.com/mea7vq
- Water is not a friend for seniors. They have not carried around water bottles everyday like we do. So to them, you drink water to take pills and that is a negative. So, change the water into the different power waters with flavor that you can find. They will replace the electrolytes and such and are used by runners and sports people. Add them to the list for your senior and keep it cooled.
- I also like to use a crystal lite type of drink that has sugar substitute and comes in flavors of peach tea and pink lemonade.
- If you want your senior to drink a protein drink make sure it is chilled. They taste sooo much better chilled.
- A small chill chest like the ones you take to work for lunch is perfect to place by the senior’s chair. I just have them put a new ice pack(keep at least 3 ice packs to rotate) in it each day and put their yogurt, protein drink and juice drink inside so they stay cool and easy to reach and use.
- I find that seniors do well with glasses with handles. So I look for a plastic glass that has a thermal lining and handles. It will keep your cool drink cool much longer and is easy for the senior to drink and carry around to refill.
- The air around a senior’s home has to be within reach of normal. You can find out what makes them feel good. I would say in the low 70’s. Now mother took a med that made her cold all year round. So she wanted a heater on in the summer. I removed the heater from her room so she did not have that choice. I put her over all room heat in the low 70’s and had her wear a sweater ( not a shawl to trip over)
- Fans are great and the newer fans that have a stand and fill with water are even better. Do not have the fan blowing on the senior’s chair. Just have it moving the air around the room. Be sure to cover the cord with duck tape so there is no tripping over the electric plug in.
- New portable air conditioners are wonderful. They run around $200 or less at the big box stores or online. You will find that they have wheels and move from room to room. They only need to have a hose sticking out a window.This is a new product and works so well that I know you will enjoy it, too.
- Open doors and windows are security risk for seniors. Make sure you have someone help you with ways to get fresh air and still have security. Even sliding doors have open set locks, so take a look at the hardware store and see what they have for the senior’s home to make it safe but cool.
- I found a standing air filter that had a chill feature at a small hardware store last week. It was one of those tower type of things and as I stood in front of it I thought how great it would have been to have had for mother when she was alive. So just get out there and take a look. There are also mist sprayers for the back yard and very small refrigerators that would fit into a care center room keep looking till you find the right match.
- Ask family to help with the expense or ask the state case worker to use their concrete funds to supplement the new air conditioner or fan.
Some times seniors just need a push from a child. I often asked mother to change a habit so I could stop worrying about her and get more sleep. I just told her I was not able to stop worrying about her being over heated and I needed her to work with me. She always responded well. Most senior parents would do almost anything for their kids if they sincerely ask them.
Stay Kool – Start with yourself, keep yourself cool and talk about being cool when you talk to your senior each day. Ask them what they are planning to do to keep the house cool? Tell them the heat is going to be high today and ask them if they have the fan on and how about their cooler drinks? Talking about it, makes it come up to the top of the senior’s mind. Plus, a doctor telling a senior to do something like drink water or juice and keep cool will go a long way. Seniors think of their doctors with a great deal of respect so keep the doc on your team.
I hope this has helped you with ideas. Please do go to my website at www.seniorcarewithspirit.com for more ideas. I have a great e-book called Care Giving 101 Workbook that will help you with giving care in your own home or in the senior’s home. It has all the basic home nursing tips and gives you ideas to support yourself as well as your spouse or loved one. These books are very popular with care givers and I encourage you to buy one so you can feel more in power of your situation as the care giver. It can be very lonely out there all alone when you are giving care – I want to make the experience more comforting for you.
I write these blogs to share information that I have gathered in my many years of care giving. I am now tending to my husband with Alzheimer’s and my books and services are how I’m able to stay at home and care for him. Thanks for all you are doing for your own loved one, blessings. francy
PS I am on Twitter @seniorcaretips and I would love to have you listen to my talk radio show on senior care issues just click the radio button on my home page. The show is on demand so you can listen whenever you have time.