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Help to keep older people safe in the heat

While the recent spate of hot weather is good news for those of us who want to visit the beach or break out the barbecue, Lucy Harmer, director of services at Independent Age, the older people’s charity, says it is important not to forget about the dangers of extreme temperatures

While the UK swelters under a heatwave, Harmer is encouraging friends and family to look in on their elderly neighbours and offers the following tips:

  • Check the temperature: if you think their home feels uncomfortably hot, suggest they draw the blinds or curtains to help keep the rooms cooler
  • Offer a drink: check they have had enough to drink, especially cool drinks such as water and fruit juice. Suggest avoiding alcohol and limiting caffeine, as those could contribute to dehydration
  • Check the signs: look for signs of heat exhaustion, such as tiredness, nausea, feeling faint or sweating heavily. Call NHS 111 for advice
  • Go shopping: see if they need anything from the shops that could help to keep them cool
  • Stay inside in the middle of the day: the hottest time of the day is from 11am to 3pm. Encourage your friend or family member not to do too much during these hours and remind them to take necessary precautions if they need to go out, such as wearing a hat and sunscreen and bringing a bottle of water
  • Understand their medication: if they’re taking medication that affects the amount of fluid they can drink, encourage them to speak to their GP about coping in hot weather.

For more tips on keeping cool during a heatwave, click here

Pic credit: Natasha Suslina@flickr.com


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