With the on-going heatwave and exceptional high temperatures, Age UK is encouraging people across Sussex to look out for their older neighbours and relatives.
As the country’s largest charity supporting older people, Age UK is aware that older people can be vulnerable during the hot weather, particularly during prolonged spells.
Caroline Abrahams, Age UK’s Charity Director said, “This heatwave seems set to continue, with experts predicting record highs over the coming days, especially in London and the South-East.
“Unfortunately this isn’t good news for everyone, with older people who already have health problems and/or who live in housing that is really hard to keep cool and well ventilated being especially at risk.
“That’s why we are urging older people to take care and look out for both themselves and others they know. It’s easy to under estimate the threat posed by hot weather, but the fact is our bodies are less able to cope with extremes of temperature as we get older, making us more susceptible to heat-related illness.
“Age UK is advising anyone with an older family member or neighbour to keep in friendly touch with them and check they are OK. It may be that offering to bring in some groceries, for example, so they don’t have to endure the heat outside would be very welcome over the next few days.
“As well as remaining indoors when it’s hottest, wearing light clothing and drinking plenty of fluids, it’s a good idea to continue to eat well, to ensure the body replaces the salt lost through sweat. Letting the cooler air in at night and shutting it out during the day, plus shading your home as much as you can are other top tips from the weather experts.
“For more advice people can call Age UK’s free advice line on 0800 169 6565 or visit website. Here you will be able to request or download a copy of our free advice guide, ‘Staying Cool in a Heatwave’, which provides advice on how to protect yourself from the heat.”
Age UK offers a range of free information and advice designed to help older people live well during the summer months and protect themselves when the temperature soars.
Here are the Charity’s top tips staying cool and well in the warmer weather:
1. If you have neighbours or relatives who live alone, visit or phone to check that you are not having difficulties during periods of extreme heat. It’s important to be aware of friends and neighbours during a heat wave and to let people know if you are on your own and have any concerns. Heat stroke is a life-threatening condition and can develop if heat exhaustion is left untreated.
2. Stay inside during the hottest time of the day – late morning to mid-afternoon. If you do go out use sunscreen of factor 15 or above, wear a hat and stay in the shade if possible.
3. When inside, try to keep your house cool. Keep curtains and blinds closed in rooms that catch the sun.
4. Avoid or limit strenuous activities like housework and gardening – try to do these activities when it’s cooler in the early morning or evening.
5. When travelling always carry a bottle of water and drink lots of fluid even if you aren’t thirsty. Limit drinks with caffeine and avoid alcohol as it can make dehydration worse.
6. Watch what you eat. Follow these tips to help you eat well during the warmer months:
· Eat normally but try to have more cold foods, particularly salads and fruits as they contain a lot of water
· Also be careful when eating outside. Whilst alfresco dining can be one of the best things about summer, hot weather causes bacteria to multiply quickly and increases our risk of food poisoning. Avoid this by bringing chilled food home quickly from the shops and putting it straight in the fridge when you get home, making sure you don’t have food sitting in the sun for long periods, and storing it in the fridge when you can
· Be careful when barbecuing. We all enjoy a barbecue in the sun, but it’s actually a riskier way to cook meat. Before eating meat such as chicken, pork, burgers, sausages and kebabs from a barbeque make sure it’s piping hot and cooked all the way through, with no pink meat inside. There is no need to wash raw meat before cooking it and always wash your hands after touching it.
7. Choose the right clothes. It may sound obvious, but light-coloured, loose cotton clothing can help you stay cool in the heat. Dark colours absorb the light and can make you feel even warmer.
8. Think about your feet. Allowing your feet to breathe is important when the weather is hot so wearing open toe sandals is an excellent way to stop your feet getting sweaty and smelly. Avoid flip flops, which can be hard to walk in and opt for sandals which support your feet. Sandals that fasten with Velcro or adjustable straps are a good idea if your feet swell up in the heat.
9. Cool off with water. Remember to take cooler baths or showers. Try splashing your face with cool water or placing a damp cloth on the back of your neck.
10. Check for weather forecasts and temperature warnings on TV, radio and online at www.metoffice.gov.uk
People looking for advice can call Age UK’s free Advice Line, 365 days a year from 8am - 7pm on 0800 169 6565, or visit www.ageuk.org.uk
Age UK’s free guide, ‘Staying cool in a heatwave’, offers helpful advice on how to protect yourself from the heat, heat-related illnesses and what to do when someone shows signs of it. Other guides include ‘Healthy living’, which is packed full of tips and advice to help maintain a healthy body and mind.
For a free copy of a guide call Age UK Advice free on 0800 169 6565 or visit www.ageuk.org.uk/publications to view and download.