By Susan Yubas, founder of FYI Senior Living Solutions, Inc.
My daughter and I walked into my mother’s apartment the other day and were hit by a wall of warm, humid air. While my mother was wearing long sleeves and pants, my daughter began to roll up her sleeves due to the heat and I immediately went to see why the air conditioning was not working.
It was working fine – she had turned it off because she was comfortable and did not feel the heat.
As we age, our bodies lose the ability to regulate temperature which makes us sensitive to seasonal weather changes.
Serious conditions are related to heat exposure – including heat exhaustion and heat stroke. While the two share similar symptoms of headache, dizziness, and fatigue, heat stroke is life threatening and may also include disorientation, agitation, seizures, fainting, rapid heartbeat and hallucinations among others.
Being dehydrated also increases the risk of exposure to heat for older adults and some medications for chronic medical conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease may increase susceptibility to dehydration and also result in increased sensitivity to sunlight.
What can you do:
- Make sure older adults drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. If their doctor generally limits the amount of fluid they drink or they are on water pills, they will need to ask their doctor how much they should drink while the weather is hot.
- Avoid direct exposure to the sun during the peak hours of the day
- Limit exercise during the hottest part of the day
- Cool down and rest in an air conditioned space.
Always seek medical attention if you are concerned about an older adult during the hot summer months ahead.
Susan Yubas is a Certified Senior Advisor and the founder of FYI Senior Living Solutions, Inc. She will help you articulate your goals, identify issues you may not have considered and direct you to appropriate professionals to help you implement what is needed.
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