Preparing the Elderly for Summer

November 24, 2016

During summer we are all at risk of dehydration however if you are older you are at more risk of severe heat stress and dehydration.

During a heatwave it is vital to monitor fluid intake to ensure you drink cold drinks regularly, such as water and fruit juice. Tea, coffee and alcohol should be avoided. Carers should also make sure the older person has a phone that will work during a power failure.

‘The elderly and frail in our community often do not realise when they are dehydrated” explains Southern Cross Care (WA) Inc. (SCC) CEO Errol Turner. “Staff in our facilities operate under strict procedures to ensure our clients drink fluids regularly, but for family and friends who provide care at home this is a time to be extra vigilant.”

SCC advises the following tips to help carers look after older people during a period of extreme heat:

Keeping cool

  • Keep rooms cool; check that windows are shaded, especially north and west facing ones that let in most of the sun.  If safe to do so, ventilate rooms late at night when it’s cooler.
  • Consider moving people to a cooler room; top floor accommodation in particular is quickly affected by heat rises.
  • Avoid the heat: advise older people to stay out of the sun, especially between 11am and 3pm.
  • Check that fans and air conditioning work properly, and encourage clients to use them.
  • Advise older people to reduce their level of physical exercise.
  • Encourage them to take regular cool showers or baths, and splash cool water on their face, back and neck. A damp cloth on the back of the neck helps temperature regulation.
  • Encouraging older people without air-conditioning to go to venues during the day that do have air-conditioning can also be beneficial.


  • If they take prescribed medicines, they must continue to take these during periods of extreme heat.
  • Be aware that certain medications can contribute to the onset of heat related conditions, such as sunburn and heat stress. Extra care should be taken to watch for signs that the heat is affecting them.

 Eating and drinking

  • Older people may not always be able to tell when they are thirsty so encourage them to drink water regularly.
  • Encourage them to eat smaller meals more often during hot weather.
  • Check that freezers and fridges are in good working order.

Clothing and aids

  • Ensure older people wear light cotton clothing and a hat when going outdoors.
    • Older people should always wear sunscreen, even if they only go outside for a short time, as their skin is much thinner and can burn easily.
    • Ensure they wear sunglasses when going outdoors.
    • Check that wheelchairs, walkers and other metal equipment that may be used by an older person do not become hot to touch, as this can cause a burn.

Further details about how to assist an older person cope during extreme heat can be found on the WA Health website.

Nominations for the 2023 WA Nursing and Midwifery Excellence Awards are now open!

December 22, 2022

Accessing home care – the ‘how to’

April 4, 2022

Scenario Exercises in our Residential Homes and Community Centres

February 10, 2022

Aida Keeps Her Independence at 82

February 2, 2022

Keeping Safe in a COVID-19 World

February 2, 2022

Children Share Words of Care and Comfort

February 2, 2022

Tips for Keeping Your Mind Active

February 2, 2022

Pets Providing Companionship for SCCWA Residents and Clients

February 2, 2022

Volunteers Thanked for Their Continued Efforts

February 2, 2022

Fishing outing a huge success for home care client Robert

January 21, 2022

Jill’s secret to a long and healthy life

January 21, 2022

Kevin brings happiness and joy to home care clients

January 21, 2022

Together we can ensure no one faces dementia alone

September 21, 2021

Raising a cuppa at Southern Cross Care WA

June 1, 2018

Football gives Stephen ‘a new lease of life’

May 21, 2018

Tony Quinlan Respite Centre open day highlights benefits of respite care

May 17, 2018

How Harry found his calling through volunteering

May 14, 2018

Southern Cross Care salutes our Anzac heroes

April 30, 2018

What to consider when choosing a retirement village

March 1, 2018

What’s good for your heart is good for your head!

February 20, 2018

Baby, its hot out there!

February 20, 2018

Jeremiah Donovan House residents impart wisdom after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine

March 12, 2021

Victoria Park Nursing Home Residents are treated like family

November 18, 2020

SCC celebrates National Volunteer Week

May 25, 2020

Stay healthy this summer

January 10, 2020

SCC staff shine at WA Mental Health Awards

December 20, 2019

Easy Christmas Pudding

December 17, 2019

SCC celebrates volunteers’ contributions

December 16, 2019

Alma’s holiday dream comes true

October 25, 2019

Health and Wellness events encourage residents to live and age well

October 11, 2019