Experts advise families that the summertime poses a special risk for seniors. Since Florida has a large population of seniors in Hollywood, Miami, and surrounding areas, friends and family of elderly persons need to be aware of the risks. One of the major risks is the heat itself. Some seniors take medication that makes it harder for their bodies to deal with the heat. In addition, Florida seniors on fixed incomes often cannot afford to make changes to their homes that would make their homes cooler. Decreased mobility can prevent the elderly from escaping their home to beat the heat. All these problems can lead to heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and dehydration.
Florida’s weather does not help. With temperatures that can reach the 90s or even the 100s, the strong Florida summer creates an unusual level of warmth that can mean a real health risk. Emergency rooms in Miami, Hollywood, and other Florida communities prepare themselves each summer for an influx of patients with heat-related health problems. Experts advise that friends and family check on elderly loved ones more often in the summer, to check for signs of heat stroke or heat exhaustion. Ensuring that an elderly loved one stays cool and drinks plenty of water can help prevent some heat-related illnesses.
In addition to heat-related illnesses, there are other risks for seniors in the summer as well. According to experts, incidents of food poisoning increase in the summer, as food takes less time to spoil in the heat. As well, dehydration is also a risk for seniors, who may not drink adequate amounts of water, especially if they have trouble remembering to drink or if they have mobility problems.
Other risks to Florida’s seniors include burn injuries. Many Florida burn injuries each summer are caused by people touching surfaces which have been heated greatly by the sun. Belt buckles in a hot car, metal arm rests on a chair left in the sun – all of these can cause burn injuries. Since the elderly tend to have thinner, more fragile skin, these burns can be more serious. As well, some elderly patients are vulnerable to infection from skin irritation, due to underlying health problems.
Cooling off in a pool can be a great way to cool off in the hot Florida sun. Cool water on the skin, according to experts, is a more effective way to cool down in hot temperatures than an electric fan. However, pool areas can easily pose many hazards for an elderly person. Florida slip and fall accidents are very common near pools, for example, where water from the pool can make the ground surface slippery. Hampered mobility can make seniors more vulnerable to these types of accidents. As well, experts advise that the elderly can be more susceptible to bacteria, parasites, and other dangers which can be caught from a communal swimming pool. Most experts recommend close supervision and a shower after swimming in a public pool.