Melbourne comes alive in the summer months as the temperature heats up and our community heads outdoors. Temperatures climb over 35 degrees on average nine days in the summer, and inevitably, we succumb to Heatwaves- with soaring temperatures lasting five days or more.
Everyone is susceptible to heat stress caused by these extreme conditions, particularly seniors and people with medical conditions who may be affected by heat-related illnesses.
Judi from Care With Quality, shares her top ten tips for seniors to beat the summer heat:
Tip 1: Be Prepared –
Heatwaves bring stress on urban infrastructure, electricity, and essential services. Plan how to handle an electricity outage- ensure there is a way to contact a neighbour or family and you have a working torch handy.
Ensure you have plenty of food, water, and a good supply of your regular medications on hand. Before a heatwave hits, have air conditioners serviced. Get pedestal fans out – check that they are working and plan a safe position so that electrical cords don’t become a trip hazard.
Tip 2: Keep Hydrated –
As we get older, it gets harder for the body to maintain fluid levels. The kidneys can lose efficiency our sense of thirst declines. For some people, it’s harder to get to the fridge or the tap to get a glass of water.
For all these reasons, Seniors need to keep drinks close by and limit caffeine. Make drinking water more enjoyable by adding berries, lemon, or lime to water. Ask for others to pass you a drink regularly.
Tip 3: Maintain Nutrition –
Keep food refrigerated. Eat fruit and vegetables high in water content such as melons, oranges, cucumbers, and celery. Eat smaller meals more frequently. Enjoy frozen foods such as bananas, berries, and yoghurts.
Tip 4: Keep as cool as possible –
Draw curtains and pull down blinds and shutters. Turn on air conditioners and fans and ensure that the heating is turned off.
Hot air rises, so stay downstairs if you live in a two-storey home. Apply a damp cloth to the back of the neck. Freeze wheat, rice and barley filled winter heat packs- and use them as cool packs!
Tip 5: Keep in Touch –
Nominate someone to be in touch with daily. Keep a phone close by.
Tip 6: Keep Informed –
Listen to the radio, watch TV or log on to the internet to keep informed about weather conditions and what’s happening in your community. Have a battery-operated radio or your mobile phone handy.
Tip 7: Keep active, within reason –
Hot Melbourne days are not days for Seniors to do the gardening, jobs around the house or sporting pursuits- but it is important to maintain some physical activity during the cooler times of the day.
Enjoy the fresh air early in the morning and late afternoon if the temperature is cooler.
Enjoy a stroll in the garden, a walk by the beach or an alfresco breakfast or dinner. Keep in mind to dress appropriately, wear a hat, find shade, and apply sunscreen.
Tip 8: Enjoy Melbourne’s twilight events and daytime air-conditioned venues (if COVID safe) –
Look out for evening events such as local Night Markets. Choose air-conditioned buildings to visit during the day- a film at the local cinema, the Legislative Council or the Legislative Assembly at Parliament House or enjoy the Melbourne Museum or our vast array of galleries and shopping centres.
Tip 9: Seek medical advice 24 hours per day through the Victorian Government’s NURSE-ON-CALL on 1300 60 60 24 –
Whether you are not feeling well yourself or you are looking out for a Senior family member, neighbour or friend- Keep an eye out for changes in behaviour- such as someone staying in bed all day covered in blankets, muscle weakness or cramps, dizziness, confusion or anything out of the ordinary.
Tip 10: For assistance in beating the summer heat, Contact Care With Quality on 9572 9300 –
Care With Quality has a team of Care Co-ordinators and careworkers who can assist you with any of the Tips above, from planning for the hot weather through to keeping cool or heading out and about.
For more information, call the above number or check out our website www.carewithquality.com.au .
Better Health Victoria – https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/campaigns/survive-heat