I think it's safe to say that summer is in full swing — this is great news for some of us, however, this can be extremely dangerous for the elderly generation if they do not properly prepare themselves for the heat wave. With that being said, many aging adults are on the hunt for helpful tips on how to "safe proof" their homes against the heat and the dangerous summer pests that come along with it.
If you or and elderly parent is in need of a little help with preparations for the oncoming heat, check out these five tips on how to stay safe this summer.
Control the Flies
During the summer, especially in warmer climates such as the south, different breeds of flies can become a serious problem if not handled properly and early on.
Flies can carry germs that cause diseases and illnesses like dysentery, diarrhea, salmonella and e.Coli. When they’re allowed to live in someone’s home, they are able to mate and lay eggs, spreading this problem to cause an even bigger one. In warm weather, these eggs can hatch in as little as 8-12 hours — that's why it is critical to take care of the problem as soon as possible.
Now that we are all terrified, here are some of the easiest ways to help you parents safeguard their home against flies this summer.
- The easiest way is just to keep things extra clean — flies are attracted to rotting or discarded food and generally unsanitary conditions. Hiring a cleaning service or an in-home caregiver to keep things tidy can help cut down on the flies and put your loved one at ease.
- Create your own fly trap device
- Place sticky fly traps near the doors or suspect windows
Take Care of the Fridge
Getting your aging loved one’s refrigerator ready for summer is something you might not think is as important as it truly is. In the summer heat, food will spoil much faster, and this can be is very serious for seniors who rely on a certain diet to maintain their health.
Check the coils in your parent’s refrigerator to make sure things are in working order. If you find something amiss, have a professional come out and make repairs to prevent a breakdown.
You should also check the door seal and measure the coldness levels so you know everything is working order before the hot months arrive.
However, the most important thing is to fill the fridge with water — seniors are more susceptible to dehydration than younger people because they lose their ability to conserve water as they age.
Check the Screens on Their Doors
Maybe your parent enjoys leaving their doors and windows open during the summer to let in a nice breeze. This is great, however, you don’t want them to welcome all manner of pests through broken or ripped screens.
Make sure the screens on their doors and windows are secure and intact before it gets hot. Then they can enjoy the fresh air without worrying about pests and bugs getting into their home.
Check the Windows
For both cooling purposes and energy efficiency, it’s important that your aging loved one’s windows are in good shape for the summer.
Single-pane or old windows are less efficient at keeping out hot air in the summer months. This can cause your loved one’s unit to work harder to cool their home, often leaving the inside temperature hotter than is comfortable for your loved one. For seniors with thyroid or cardiovascular issues, temperature control is vital.
Gapping or old windows will also cause a spike in energy bills and put undue stress on an HVAC unit. This can cause undue financial stress for your loved one.
Introduce Yourself to their Neighbors
Get in touch with those who live in their neighborhood. If you're loved one is alone in their home during the hot summer months, see if a neighbor can come by and check on them occasionally. Also, be sure to pass on your contact information so in the instance of an emergency they will know who to call. If your loved one is not close with their neighbors or enjoys their privacy look into an in-home caregiver to check in on them — the extra company and friendship is just an added bonus.
If you’re nervous about an aging loved one being on their own during the hot summer months, a caretaker can help ease your mind. Check-ins throughout the day can ensure that your loved one has everything they need to stay cool and secure through the summer.
A caretaker can also make sure the refrigerator is running smoothly and that your loved one and their pets have access to cold water as needed.
Contact Bluebird Homecare to learn about our caretaking services and to find a caretaker that works with your loved one’s needs and schedule.