Heat Stress and the Elderly

Heat Stress and the Elderly
The summer months typically bring extremely hot conditions along with them. This year is no exception, as temperatures are again expected to be above average. (Just look at the temperatures the last few weeks on the East Coast and Midwest if you need any more proof).

And considering that people over the age of 65 are less likely to sense and respond to temperature changes according to the CDC, it’s important to know the risks of heat stress and the elderly.

If you have an elderly loved one who may be at risk of heat stress–which without emergency treatment can cause permanent disabilities and even death–make sure to remind them of the following information (adapted from the CDC):

  • Stay inside and in the air conditioning as much as possible. Your local agency can locate an air-conditioned shelter in your loved one’s area, if need be.
  • A fan should not be relied on as a primary cooling device during extreme heat.
  • Seniors should drink more water than usual when out in high temperatures, and they shouldn’t wait until they’re thirsty to drink.
  • Have a friend or neighbor check on your aging loved one–and perhaps you could do the same for someone in your area.
  • Avoid using the stove or oven to cook as much as possible, as that only makes the house hotter.
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, and light-colored clothing.
  • Take cool showers or baths to cool down as needed.
  • Keep an eye on local news for health and safety updates.
  • If your loved one has any of symptoms of heat-releated illness, seek medical care immediately.

While seniors won’t always be at risk of heat stress when outside during the summer, it can never hurt to be too careful. Being proactive and taking all the steps you can will help ensure that your elderly loved one stays cool and beats the summer heat.

Do you have any other tips for avoiding heat stress? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter.

Physicians’ Choice Private Duty Assisted Living currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of geriatric care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. Get your free Cost Comparison guide by clicking here. Or contact us for a free consultation or just to say hello!

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