“Mom Doesn’t Take the Heat Well.” Tips to Help Prevent Elder Summertime Heat Exhaustion, Heat Stroke and Dehydration
Have you ever walked into your parent’s home and found it freezing in the winter or broiling in the summer? Many elders don’t want to pay exorbitant electric bills, and they don’t realize that by attempting to save a few dollars, they’re actually putting their health in danger. Recent studies reveal that 30,000 people die each year of heat related causes, and the most vulnerable segments of our population are our children and our elders. Sometimes an adult child, friend or neighbor has to intervene and make sure their loved ones are safe.
Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion and Dehydration:
- Pale and/or clammy skin
- Severe headaches
- Confusion, dry mouth and parched lips
- Dizzy or feeling disoriented
- Profuse sweating
- Increased heartbeat
- Dark colored urine
Heat Stroke symptoms include: spiking a high temperature (a sign of heat stroke and considered a medical emergency), dry, red, and hot skin, extreme disorientation, dizziness and nausea
Tips to Help Prevent Elder and Summertime Heat Exhaustion and Dehydration:
- Set the temperature at a healthy setting and then cover it/protect it where they can’t turn it off
- Keep the air circulating. Use ceiling fans and box fans (be sure to secure the cords to prevent falls)
- Get bottled water/other liquids and put them around the house so they have lots of access to liquids.
- Check on them daily. A phone call may not be enough-you may need for someone to physically see them and make an assessment.
- If your area has a heat wave (temps over 95 for many days) then consider relocating your elder to a safe place with proper supervision until the intense heat passes.
- Offer lightweight clothing-eliminate other options.
- Make sure they’re not turning on the stove and leaving it on, or using a heating pad or other heat elements.
- Offer Meals on Wheels or prepare cool foods-cold pastas, salads, sandwiches-items that don’t require a lot of cooking.
- Make sure that if they’re still driving that their car has air conditioning, or if they do yard work that they’re not out for extended time in the heat of the day.
Summertime offers picnics and family cookouts. Don’t let the heat keep you and your loved ones from being safe and making new memories.
*Tips gathered from the CDC