Editor’s Note: This article is part of a series. Links to the rest of the series under the section 7 Summer Caregiving Tips below.
Do you know that about 40 percent of heat-related deaths are in those persons 65 or older?
Those 65 years and older are more likely to have problems related to the heat due to changes in their body from aging.
Why Are Seniors More At Risk For Heat-related Problems?
Seniors have less insulating fat under the skin. This is due to changes in their bodies from aging, and it makes it harder for their bodies to regulate their temperature.
They also perspire less than younger people. Perspiration is one of the body’s safety mechanisms to cool down. Less sweat means it’s harder to cool down or to stay cool.
Elders also lose their sense of thirst so are at risk for not drinking enough fluids. Staying hydrated with enough fluids is both a foundation of good health and wellness and it prevents dehydration. With dehydration, there is an increased risk of skin damage from the sun and the body cannot regulate its temperature as well. More severe dehydration leads to even more severe damage which can become life-threatening.
The heat related illnesses seniors and especially elders are at increased risk for include heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Further information on these conditions can be found in the articles linked under the Additional Resources section below.
That’s the why summer safety is especially important in senior and elder care.
Additional Resources That May Be Helpful For Your Caregiving or Elder Care
- CDC Information About Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke and What to Do About Them
- Heat Exhaustion: Symptoms, Treatment and Risk Factors
- Emergency First Aid for Heat Stroke
- Vial of Life Free Kit
- Emergency Car Kit
- Summer Heat Safety Checklist
- Summer Survival Checklist (scroll down for Summer Safety Tips from the American Cancer Society and American Heart Association)
What are your favorite summer caregiving tips? Do you know of other links for caregiving resources? Share in the comments section.
To your Happy & Healthy Caregiving,
Ina Gilmore MD
Purple Angel Dementia Ambassador
P.S. For additional tips and your free copy of A HEART PLAN, sign up for our newsletter!