A Useful Guide to Elderly Parents' Safety This July 4th

Looking forward to visiting your parents over the July 4th weekend? USA Today reports that a record-breaking 46.9 million Americans will travel over the upcoming holiday weekend. Many of whom are likely heading to see loved ones in other states.

You likely are looking forward to days of fun and frolic for yourself and your loved ones. Just keep in mind that your parents might require a slightly slower pace than what you are used to. Want to know what to watch for? Here’s your handy guide for keeping your elderly parents safe, healthy, and enjoying your visit over Independence Day weekend!

Evaluate their health before making plans.

Living apart from aging parents means that you might not be so familiar with their energy levels and how much they are capable of. For example, you might have a whole day planned, taking in the sights, as well as attending an evening fireworks display. But they might only be up for an evening activity.

Avoid visiting with ready-made plans that are set in stone. Be flexible, and make sure they do not feel pressured to keep up with you or show you a good time, which could put their health at risk.

Additionally, your visit provides a natural time to check in on their health and care. If your parents live alone, evaluate the state of the house to see how they are managing. If chores are being left undone, or bills left unpaid, your parents might require more assistance than what they presently receive.

If your parents live in a nursing home, this is even more important to do. According to Noll Law Office attorneys in Springfield IL, "Nursing home residents are some of the most vulnerable persons in society and the least equipped to defend themselves from abuse and neglect."

Signs to look out for when it comes to elder abuse include unexplained bruises, bed sores, and personal hygiene issues. Odd explanations for ailments made by staff should also raise warning alerts in your mind.

Watch out for the heat.

According to the CDC, individuals who are 65 on up are more susceptible to heat exhaustion. They explain that seniors do not adjust to sudden changes in temperature as well as those 10 to 20 years younger. For instance, going from an air-conditioned room to the outdoors can have an exhausting effect on your parents.
Early signs of heat exhaustion that can lead to heat stroke include the following:

  1. dizziness
  2. headaches
  3. weakness
  4. tiredness
  5. excessive sweating
  6. muscle cramps

If any of you begin to show signs of heat exhaustion, treat it immediately. Particularly in the case of seniors, any signs of heat exhaustion should be a matter for concern. Keep the number of their doctor on hand so that you can get help if there's any indication of symptoms progressing.

The American Red Cross provides the following steps in staying clear of heat exhaustion over the July 4 weekend:
  1.  Keep your family hydrated and drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day.
  2.  Make sure all members are wearing loose-fitting, breathable, lightweight clothing. Do not wear dark colored clothes, as these absorb heat.
  3.  Avoid facilities that are not air conditioned. 

Beware of sun exposure.
If you plan on outdoor activities this coming weekend, opt for staying indoors during the hottest times of the day. Limit your outings to the evenings or early mornings. During midday, stick to air-conditioned indoor facilities, shops, and restaurants.

During the summer, the sun sets much later in the day. Timings vary depending on the state you are visiting. But on average, 8 PM to 9 PM is when you should be able to expect the sun to set. TimeandDate.com provide sunrise and sunset times for 77 locations across the US. Refer to it as you make plans and try to schedule your main activities during the hour or so around sunrise or sunset.

If you are out during hours that do not immediately precede or follow sunrise or sunset, a hat is insufficient protection if you are out for over an hour. Keep exposure to a minimum and then make sure your parents have sufficient time to recover with a nap or a sit down in an air-conditioned spot.

With a little preparation and planning, your July 4 weekend with your parents can be a lovely time to reconnect. As well as an opportunity to evaluate their present health and needs.


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