Record heat in the Carolinas and Virginia has gotten the summer of 2012 off to a steamy start, and caregivers of seniors throughout the region should closely monitor their loved ones during the summer months.
Liberty HomeCare & Hospice Services reminds everyone that seniors are especially vulnerable to summer heat as rising temperatures can create unique complications for seniors.
– Seniors may not recognize their bodies are overheating as fast as others. They also are less likely to feel thirsty when they get dehydrated.
– Seniors may not perspire as much as others , due to medications including diurectics, sedatives and heart and blood pressure medications.
– Seniors’ skin may be more susceptible to heat, including increased likelihood of sunburn and heat stroke due to poor blood circulation.
In fact, seniors are 12 times more likely to suffer heat stroke than other age groups. How do you keep them safe?
– Keep educated about signs of heat stroke (flushed face, high body temperature, headache, nausea, rapid pulse, dizziness and confusion).
– Keep seniors hydrated. In intense heat, people should have at least eight cups with eight ounces of water. Seniors should avoid caffeine and alcohol, because they can further dehydrate the body.
– Keep them company. A senior who lives alone is at a greater risk than others. Help them with chores, especially outdoor activities.
– Keep them covered. Encourage seniors to wear light-colored, loose fitting clothing, and to wear hats and sunscreen.