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.