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As ‘lockdown’ continues Age Cymru urges people to look out for older relatives and neighbours as temperatures soar

Written by on 23rd June 2020

With hot weather on the way Age Cymru is urging people to look out for their older neighbours and relatives, particularly if they live alone or are self-isolating or shielding during this period of ‘lockdown’.

Older people can be vulnerable during the hot weather, especially if they live somewhere that is hard to keep cool, so it’s important to be aware of older friends and neighbours during a heat wave. And if you an older person yourself who lives alone, you should let people know if you have any concerns. 

Victoria Lloyd, Age Cymru chief executive said: “The hot weather that is being forecast for this week and beyond is something that many of us will look forward to and thoroughly enjoy.

“However, this isn’t the case for everyone, with older people being more susceptible to heat-related illness.

“That’s why we are encouraging older people to take precautions and look after themselves during the hot spell. We are also urging people to look out for older neighbours and relatives in their communities. Lockdown and shielding bring added complications as it can be harder to spot someone who may be getting into difficulties and in need of extra help.

“There are many different ways to get in touch with older people during the pandemic. For example, you could post a note through the door offering support, call someone if you already know their telephone number or, for those online, message them via social media.

“The important thing is to keep in touch and to reassure older people that you there for them should they need your help.”

The charity says there are some sensible precautions everyone can take to stay well and hydrated during a hot spell.

As well as remaining indoors during the worst of the heat, wearing light clothing and sipping plenty of fluids, older people should also continue to try to eat well to ensure their body replaces the salt lost through sweat.

Here are the charity’s top tips staying cool and well in the warmer weather:

 1.    If you are living alone let your neighbours, friends and relatives know if you are getting into difficulties during extreme heat. Heat exhaustion and heatstroke are not to be taken lightly and are potentially life-threatening:
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/heat-exhaustion-heatstroke/

2.    Stay inside during the hottest time of the day – late morning to mid-afternoon. Use factor 30 sunscreen wear a hat and stay in the shade if possible. Avoid or limit strenuous activities until it’s cooler in the early morning or evening.

3.    When inside, try to keep your home cool. Keep curtains and blinds closed in rooms that catch the sun.

4.    Keep medication cool. Most medication should be kept below 25°C so it might be best to keep them in the fridge when it’s really hot. 

5.    Cool off and stay hydrated with water. Cooler baths or showers can helpTry splashing your face with cool wateror placing a damp cloth on the back of your neck. Drink plenty to avoid becoming dehydrated and eat even if you’re not feeling too hungry. Sip fluids through the day in addition to your regular hot drinks.

6.    If you are walking or exercising in warm weather always carry a bottle of water. Drink lots of fluid and limit drinks with caffeine and alcohol as it can make dehydration worse. Lightweight cotton clothing keeps you cooler and sandals that fasten with Velcro or adjustable straps can help if feet are prone to swelling.

7.    If you have symptoms of coronavirus please act without delay – regardless of the weather. 
Book a test straight away, self-isolate and contact 111 if you are clinically extremely vulnerable. Try and keep cool If your chest or back feel hotter than usual, if a thermometer says your temperature is 38C or above, or you have other symptoms of coronavirus such as shivering (chills), sweating or warm, red skin.

If you suspect you may have symptoms of coronavirus and are unsure what to do visit: www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Or visit Age Cymru website for more information: www.agecymru.org.uk

8.  Check for weather forecasts and temperature warnings on TV, radio and online at www.metoffice.gov.uk If you know it’s going to be particularly hot and you think you might struggle, ask someone to check on you. Equally, check on someone else you think might struggle in the heat.

9.  Eat normally but try to have more cold foods, 
particularly salads and fruits as they contain a lot of water.

Age Cymru offers a range of free information and advice including a guide designed to help older people live well during the summer months and protect themselves when the temperature soars. Call Age Cymru free advice line on 08000 223 444 to order a copy of our free guide Summer Health Advice or visit Summer Leaflet v4.pdf to download your free copy.

The Silver Line (0800 4 70 80 90) is a free, national, confidential helpline which is open every day and night, offering information, friendship and advice to older people. More details on The Silver Line website: www.thesilverline.org.uk