Sure, some areas have still been seeing late-season snow or cooler temperatures than normal. Other areas have already experienced blistering heat. This should raise concerns over the safety of senior citizens in extreme heat.
There are a few facts people need to consider.
1. After the age of 65, it’s harder for the body to adjust to temperature spikes.
2. Medications that seniors take can make it harder for their body to adjust the core temperature.
3. Some chronic conditions impact how well the body handles being overheated.
4. Hydration is important as a loss of just 3% of your body fluids can lead to cognitive impairment and cause dehydration.
5. A Nutrition and Healthy Aging study found that 4 out of 10 Americans over the age of 55 drink no more than four cups of water each day.
What Are the Signs of Heat-Related Illnesses?
Common symptoms of heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion and heat stroke include dizziness, nausea, and headache. Heat exhaustion is less severe. You’ll notice the person is sweating excessively, may feel cold and clammy to the touch, may be pale, and often has a fast pulse. If heat exhaustion is suspected, your parent needs to cool off in a shower or bath, sip a glass of water, and relax in a cool area.
Heat stroke is a medical emergency and requires immediate care. Do not try to wait it out. Some of the symptoms are the same as those with heat exhaustion. Differences are that the body temperature will be at 103 or higher. The skin will look red and feel hot. Plus, the senior may be confused and act like dementia is present.
What Can You Do to Keep Your Parents Safe?
During a heatwave, it’s essential that senior citizens stay hydrated. They should also avoid being outdoors during the hottest times of the day (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.), close blinds to block the sun, and turn on air conditioning.
What if the senior doesn’t have air conditioning? Does the home have a basement? If it’s cooler in the basement and it’s safe to be down there, they should spend as much time downstairs as possible. They shouldn’t use the inside stove or oven. They should take cool showers and wear damp clothing if possible. They’ll stay cooler as the water in the clothing evaporates.
It’s best if you can hire senior care services to make sure your parents aren’t too hot, stays hydrated, and avoids being outside. With a senior care aide stopping by each day, you’ll know if your mom and dad are okay. They gain companionship, and someone is available to remind them to take medications on time. Call a senior care agency to discuss the ways caregivers can help your mom and dad at their home.