Why Is It Important to Keep Your Senior Cool?

By Robert D. Liken CPC, CTS, President

July 22, 2016

Elder Care in Mt. Lebanon PA

You know how uncomfortable it can be for you during the hottest days of the year. As uncomfortable as these temperatures are, they can also be extremely dangerous for your elderly parent. Elder-Care-in-Mt.-Lebanon-PAUnderstanding this danger can help you to give them the highest quality care and ensure that they avoid potentially dangerous consequences associated with overheating.
Seniors are at greater risk of overheating for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Decreased rate of blood circulation through elderly bodies
  • Decreased efficiency in the sweat glands, reducing the amount of sweat that is produced
  • Weakness of the body that makes it more difficult for the cooling systems to work to keep the body at a safe and healthy temperature
  • Frequent fevers caused by age-related illnesses
  • The necessity to eat a salt-restricted diet, which decreases the efficiency and effectiveness of the sweat systems
  • Having a bodyweight that is over the ideal for their height and body type
  • Having a bodyweight that is under the ideal for their height and body type
  • Certain medications that are often prescribed for issues such as kidney disease or cardiovascular disease that increase the body temperature
  • Natural lower water content in the body
  • Tendency for aging adults to experience fewer thirst signals which can lead to dehydration and the inability of the body’s cooling system to work properly

Overheating can lead to a variety of very serious health complications and if left unmanaged can even contribute to premature death. It is extremely important that you are vigilant about your parent’s condition and wellbeing so that you can take the necessary steps to cool them off if they become overheated and keep them cool for the rest of the summer.
Some signs that your aging parent might be overheating include:

  • Dizziness
  • Thirst
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Loss of coordination
  • Muscle spasms
  • Fatigue
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Flushed skin
  • Confusion
  • Feeling faint
  • Dizziness

If your parent is showing symptoms of overheating it is extremely important that you cool them off as quickly as possible. Get them inside an air conditioned building if possible, or at least into shade if they are outside. Give them cool water to drink and encourage them to sip it slowly to prevent choking or further abdominal cramping. Remove as much clothing as possible and use cool cloths to bring down their body temperature. Apply these cloths to the areas of the body that hold the most heat, including the back of the neck, under the arms, on the feet, and between the thighs. If they are disoriented, not sweating, or have a weak pulse, call for emergency medical attention.
A senior care provider can be a valuable ally in helping keep your aging parent cool during the hottest months of the year. Through a customized approach to care and assistance, this senior home care services provider can address your elderly loved one’s specific needs and challenges to ensure they stay active and engaged, but also healthy and safe. During the summer months this means finding ways to keep them cool without sacrificing their physical or mental activity.

If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care in Mt. Lebanon, PA, please contact the friendly staff at Liken Home Care.  Call (412) 693-6820 or (855) 856-0551