Corewood Care Blog

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How to Beat the Summer Heat for Older Adults

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As summer rolls in, the number of older adults who suffer from heat stroke and dehydration increases. Those 75 and above, are the most susceptible to heat because it takes their bodies longer to cool down. Dehydration diminishes a person’s ability to regulate their body temperature, thus placing them at a higher risk of developing a heat illness. That’s because when we age, our bodies become less efficient at regulating temperature. Older adults don’t sweat as much as young people, which is one of the body’s most important heat-regulation mechanisms.

There are a variety of lifestyle and health factors that increase the risk of developing a heat-related illness among this population:

  • Dehydration
  • Chronic illnesses such as heart and kidney diseases; blood circulation conditions
  • Prescription medications that reduce sweating
  • Salt-restricted diets
  • Overdressing
  • Lack of airflow or access to air conditions

Help your older loved one beat the heat by taking the following steps.

Proper ventilation at home

Try to maintain a cool environment at home. Central air conditioning is the best option, but if that is not possible, a window air conditioning unit will also work.  Alternatively, fans can also provide relief. Make sure to position fans near windows while keeping all windows in the house open to allow continuous circulation of air.

Make use of air-conditioned public spaces

If air conditioning is not an option in the home, then take your loved one to public spaces with air conditioning. Some great options include a shopping mall, library, restaurant or even a local senior center.

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