Article by Care.com

“Beat the Heat!”

“Higher temperatures are a part of the summer season, but over the last few years it seems that not a summer goes by without a fatal heat wave. Seniors especially are at risk from heat related health problems. These conditions can range from mild discomfort to full-fledged emergencies. Seniors are more prone to heat stress than younger people because:

  • They do not adjust as well as young people to sudden changes in temperature.
  • They are more likely to have a chronic medical condition that upsets normal body responses to heat.
  • They are more likely to take prescription medicines that impair the body’s ability to regulate its temperature, or that inhibit perspiration.

Help seniors protect themselves from heat-related stress in these ways:

  • Make sure they are visited at least twice a day to be sure they don’t have any signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
  • Make sure they are keeping themselves hydrated by drinking plenty of cool water.
  • Encourage them to avoid beverages with caffeine or alcohol. Alcohol, in particular, increases dehydration.
  • Make sure they have access to an electric fan/air conditioning whenever possible.
  • Suggest limiting appliance use and unnecessary lighting, which create heat.
  • Encourage elders to stay indoors in a cool area during the hottest part of the day.
  • If it is necessary to be outside, stay in the shade and limit exertion as much as possible.
  • Encourage light-weight clothing.

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