Summer heat can cause serious health-related problems for the elderly. Hyperthermia, heat-related illnesses, such as heat stroke, heat edema (swelling in the ankles and feet when you get hot), heat dizziness or fainting, heat cramps and heat exhaustion. Some health related factors increase a senior’s risk and knowing these factors can save a life.
Health Related Factors include:
- Age-related changes to the skin such as poor blood circulation and inefficient sweat glands
- Heart, lung, and kidney diseases, as well as any illness that causes general weakness or fever
- High blood pressure or other conditions that require changes in diet, such as salt-restricted diets
- Reduced sweating, caused by medications such as diuretics, sedatives, tranquilizers, and certain heart and blood pressure drugs
- Taking several drugs for various conditions (It is important, however, to continue to take prescribed medication and discuss possible problems with a physician.)
- Being substantially overweight or underweight
- Drinking alcoholic beverages
- Being dehydrated
- Lifestyle factors can also increase risk, including extremely hot living quarters, lack of transportation, overdressing, visiting overcrowded places, and not understanding how to respond to weather conditions.
- Stay indoors on particularly hot and humid days, especially when there is an air pollution alert in effect.
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothes in natural fabrics.
If you suspect that someone is suffering from a heat-related illness: Call 911 if you suspect heat stroke. Get the person out of the heat and into a shady, air-conditioned or other cool place. Urge them to lie down. If the person can swallow safely, offer fluids such as water and fruit or vegetable juices, but not alcohol or caffeine. Apply a cold, wet cloth to the wrists, neck, armpits, and groin. These are places where blood passes close to the surface of the skin, and a cold cloth can help cool the blood. Encourage the person to shower, bathe, or sponge off with cool water if it is safe to do so.
Contact Elder Care
ElderCare 4 Families is happy to help provide elder care to seniors you know wherever they call home. Complimentary assessments are offered with no obligation by Elder Care, Personalized care is offered from 1 hour up to 24//7. With over 39 years of elderly care experience in the Louisville and Southern Indiana area, trust Elder Care to care for the seniors in your life. Call us at 502-244-8446 to start receiving elder care services in Louisville.