Written by Bill Gelfeld, President Comfort Home Care. In home health care specialists in Montgomery County Maryland.
As we enter the middle of summer and endure the heat wave and power outages that have been impacting the East Coast for the past several weeks it’s important to remember that heat affects seniors differently and can be very dangerous.
Although anyone can succumb to heat-related illness, people over 65 are at higher risk, partly because they don’t sweat as efficiently and have decreased circulation. Following are some tips to help keep seniors safe in summer heat:
- Stay hydrated by drinking more liquids. Be sure to drink before you are thirsty and minimize your intake of alcohol and caffeinated beverages that can increase urination and subsequently dehydration.
- Wear cool, lightweight clothing. Loose, light-colored clothing in natural fabrics like cotton reflect the heat better than darker, synthetic clothing. A broad-brimmed hat is also a great idea.
- Decrease strenuous, physical exertion in high temperatures. If you must be outdoors on hot days, choose the cooler morning or evening hours. To lower your body temperature when it’s sizzling, take a cool shower or bath.
- If you do not have air conditioning in your home, go to a community center, shopping mall, library or another home that does. Electric fans are of little help in preventing heat complications when temperatures inside the home reach higher than 85 degrees.
- Some senior diets and medications can increase dehydration through fluid and electrolyte loss. Certain antibiotics and diuretics can prevent the body from adjusting to heat and sun, so check with a pharmacist or doctor about medications that can exacerbate heat-related problems.
- Caregivers need to check on their elderly loved one’s welfare at least once daily in extreme temperatures. A quick phone call to make sure that everything is OK can be a life saver. If your loved one sounds disoriented or has slow or slurred speech it could be a sign of heat stroke.
Please take care and stay cool. If you have additional questions please call us at 301-984-7681.
Comfort Home Care is based in Rockville Maryland and provides in-home care, senior care and elder care to residents in Montgomery County Maryland.