Portsmouth hospital gives advice on caring for older people during heatwave

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PEOPLE are being encouraged to look out for their older relatives and neighbours as the hot weather continues.

The team at St Mary’s Hospital Minor Injuries Unit, in Portsmouth, have given tips on looking after others this summer.

Penny Daniels, hospital director, said: ‘While many people look forward to summer, high temperatures can be a real problem for older people, triggering breathing problems, heat exhaustion and dehydration.

‘Our kidneys become less effective as we age and our body water content decreases.

‘Conditions like dementia also affect the body’s ability to feel thirst.’

Tips for keeping older people hydrated include:

n Offering a variety of drinks such as hot, cold, still and fizzy.

n Serving a drink with every meal or snack.

n Using a clear glass because being able to see what is inside a glass can help boost fluid intake.

n Serving foods high in fluid such as fruit, vegetables, ice cream and jelly.

n Freezing drinks or yoghurts onto sticks using ice lolly moulds.

Penny added: ‘It is important to look out for signs of dehydration in older people including muscle cramps, mild confusion, weakness or sleep problems.

‘Anyone experiencing these should rest in a cool place and drink lots of fluids.’