Older Adults and Summer Heat
Heat-related illness can be a very serious problem, especially among older adults. Health concerns – or just the normal physiological changes of aging – may make it difficult for older people to handle high temperatures. If you come across anyone whom you suspect is suffering from a heat stroke, dial 911 and blanket the victim with damp sheets.
There are a number of factors that are critical to preventing heat-related problems in older adults. The first is education, including being aware of the potential problems than can contribute to heat-related illness. Follow these tips to make sure you and any older adults you know stay safe in the heat:
Make every effort to stay cool and get out of a hot environment, and limit outside activities to early morning or during the evening.
Stay in the shade, limiting outdoor activities
Use fans or seek areas that are air-conditioned, even if only for a few hours at a time.
If possible, take a cool bath.
Wear loose fitting clothing in lighter colors.
Drink plenty of fluids and consume adequate nutrition, while avoiding alcohol.
Increase salt and electrolytes intake, such as through eating salty foods or drinking sports drinks like Gatorade.
Information in this article was provided by Sharon Bryant, RN, Clinical
St. Andrew’s Senior Solutions. If you would like additional information about this topic, services provided by St. Andrew’s, or other caregiver related issues please contact your Care Coordinator D.J. Hermen at [email protected] or 314-341-3130.