Summer brings on heat and humidity that can leave seniors and the elderly susceptible to heat-related illness. Older adults aren’t able to adjust to sudden temperature changes like younger people.
Factors that cause this include certain medicines and prescriptions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heat-related illnesses can include:
- Swelling in legs and ankles
- Heat exhaustion when your body can’t stay cool. You may feel thirsty, dizzy, weak, uncoordinated, or nauseated. You may sweat a lot, have a rapid pulse, and cold and clammy skin.
- Heat stroke that includes fainting, behavior changes, body temperature over 104 degrees, dry skin, a strong and rapid pulse, loss of sweating.
Keep an eye out
Knowing that seniors and the elderly maybe susceptible to heat-related illnesses, help them out as a friend, family member, or caregiver by watching for telltale signs. These include:
- Know what medicines and prescriptions drugs they take and how they affect body temperature.
- Check on them regularly and ask if they are cool enough. Listen for patterns or shared concerns. You might think about having a remote body or home temperature sensor or monitor installed.
- If you don’t live nearby, have the contact information for someone who does and who can regularly check on them. It might be someone in their assisted living facility.
- Have a care plan with them that gives them structure and direction. The care plan should include ways to stay cool during extreme heat. Make sure it notes if the person takes any medicine that may affect body temperature.
- If you’re checking on an older adult, make sure they:
- Stay hydrated
- Have enough living space that’s set to a comfortable temperature
- Know how to stay cool during extreme heat
- Don’t show signs of heat stress
Get help right away
Seek medical care right away if the person shows signs of heat-related illness. These signs include:
- Muscle cramps
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