As the summer season ushers in warmer temperatures, it is crucial for assisted living community and adult day center staff to review heat stress prevention plans. Additionally, family members should check with administration to be sure their loved ones will have constant access to air conditioning, shade, water, and appropriate clothing, particularly elderly residents with limited mobility.
The CDC warns, “People aged 65 years or older are more prone to heat-related health problems.” They urge older adults and their caregivers to stay safe in the heat with these tips:
Why are older adults more prone to heat stress?
- Older adults do not adjust as well as young people to sudden changes in temperature.
- They are more likely to have a chronic medical condition that changes normal body responses to heat.
- They are more likely to take prescription medicines that affect the body’s ability to control its temperature or sweat.
Stay Cool, Stay Hydrated
- Stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as possible.
- Do not rely on a fan as your main cooling source when it’s really hot outside.
- Drink more water than usual and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.
- If your doctor limits the amount of fluids you drink or has you on water pills, ask them how much you should drink during hot weather.
- Don’t use the stove or oven to cook—it will make you and your house hotter.
- Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
- Take cool showers or baths to cool down.
- Do not engage in very strenuous activities and get plenty of rest.
- Check on a friend or neighbor and have someone do the same for you.