The month of June is almost over, it’s hard to believe that our new wing has been open now for one month. The residents and staff are adjusting well to the new space and the dining room is now being utilizing for all meals. There has been a lot of change in the facility the past 8 months and I want to express my sincere thank you to the residents, family, and the staff for being patient, understanding, and adjusting to the environment to make this happen. The nursing staff are adjusting to this new routine of things and will take some time to do so. Another thing new at Wellington is we now have eMar which is an electronic medication administration record. This will help improve patient safety during medication pass and drastically reduce the amount of time spent on documentation. It is software designed to replace our current paper medication administration record. The nurses have gone through the training and are adjusting very well to this new system. Not to mention, the summertime is a time of fun and relaxation for most people. But for seniors, the heat and sun can be dangerous if the proper precautions aren't taken. Here are some great tips that aging adults, as well as their caregivers, can use to make sure they have a fun, safe summer. Stay hydrated, seniors are more susceptible to dehydration than younger people due to loss of their ability to conserve water as they age and are less aware of their thirst and can have difficulty adjusting to temperature changes. Check with your physician to make sure any medications you are on won't be affected by higher temperatures — especially if you don't have air conditioning in your home. Some medications are less effective if stored at temperatures higher than room temperature. Even small increases in temperature can shorten the life expectancy for seniors who are coping with chronic medical conditions. Shopping malls, movie theaters and libraries provide welcome, cool spaces if a senior’s own home isn’t air-conditioned. They also afford a great opportunity to get out of the house and get some exercise without the exhaustion of the heat. Contact your local Area on Aging to inquire if there are any programs to assist seniors with fewer resources to get air conditioners. Seniors are much more vulnerable to the harmful effects of heat, as their bodies do not adjust as well to sudden changes in temperature. High temperatures can be life-threatening, so communication plays an important role in ensuring the safety of aging adults. Seniors, should let friends and family know if they will be spending an extended period of time outdoors. Caregivers should check on the health and welfare of their loved ones at least twice a day. Get in touch with those who live in your neighborhood and learn a bit about them and their schedules. If you're a senior, see if a younger neighbor, perhaps even one of their kids, can come by and check on you occasionally to make sure everything is all right. Everyone, including seniors, should dress for the weather. When it's warm out, natural fabrics (such as cotton) maybe cooler than synthetic fibers, light-colored and loose-fitting clothes are beneficial to help feel cooler and more comfortable. Vision loss can be common among seniors, and too much exposure to the sun can irritate eyes and cause further damage. Wearing sunglasses can protect your eyes from harmful UV rays and preserve your vision. Hyperthermia is another problem you must worry about in the elderly. Make sure to know the warning signs and get medical attention immediately if you or anyone you know is experiencing these symptoms: body temperature greater than 104 degrees, a change in behavior, such as acting confused, agitated or grouchy, dry, flushed skin, nausea and vomiting, headache, heavy breathing or a rapid pulse, skin not sweating, even if it's hot out, and fainting. Elderly individuals have a harder time knowing when they are dehydrated and their bodies have more difficulty regulating their temperatures.
Enjoy your summer and stay safe, until next month. Cathy Shimek, DON