…and more, actually. We know that every summer, the elderly are put at risk because of the extreme temperatures that may occur. This is something that happens in most temperate countries and the risk is even greater now that the world’s climate is going wacko.
According to the U.S. National Institute on Aging (NIA), however, there is more to heat than what we normally know. They have highlighted some factors that we should pay particular attention to if we are elderly or we have someone elderly in the home:
• Age-related changes to the skin such as poor blood circulation and inefficient sweat glands.
• Heart, lung and kidney diseases, as well as any illness that causes general weakness or fever.
• High blood pressure or other conditions that require dietary changes. For example, people on salt-restricted diets may be at increased risk for heat-related illnesses. However, salt pills shouldn’t be used without first consulting a doctor.
• The ability to sweat can be impaired by medications such as diuretics, sedatives, tranquilizers and by certain heart and blood pressure drugs.
• Taking several drugs for various conditions. However, it’s important to continue taking prescribed medications and discuss possible problems with a doctor.
• Being substantially overweight or underweight.
• Drinking alcoholic beverages.
• Being dehydrated.
These may seem common sense for other people BUT it never hurts to be reminded. Though the summer is almost over, it is still HOT in some areas and we can never be too careful when it comes to the elderly and heat-related incidents.