Hyperthermia and your Aging Parent

By Robert D. Liken CPC, CTS, President

June 2, 2017

Elderly Care in Squirrel Hill PA: Hyperthermia and your Aging Parent.

Getting overly heated is not good for anyone, but the elderly are at a particularly high risk for the negative effects from heat. This is due, in part, to the body’s failure to regulate its core temperature. This can be due to medications, chronic illnesses, or simply the effects of an aging body. Now that the days are getting warmer, it’s important to consider your aging parent’s outdoor activity level and help them effectively navigate through the summer months. Hyperthermia is a group of several illnesses, all caused by overheating.
Heat Exhaustion
Heat exhaustion results in feelings of dizziness, weakness, possible confusion and nausea. The skin can feel cold and clammy and look pale. Fatigue and headaches are all possible as well as a fast and weak pulse rate and fast and shallow breathing. Get you parent indoors or to a shady area immediately if you notice these symptoms. Providing an air conditioned room is ideal. And provide them with a glass of water.
Heat Stroke
Heat stroke is a medical emergency. It occurs when the body loses its ability to regulate its temperature, is unable to sweat and cannot cool down. At this point, the body may reach a temperature of 106F degrees or higher within minutes. The skin is dry, hot and red. They may also be experiencing a headache as well as dizziness and nausea.
If you are concerned your loved one may be suffering from one of these conditions, call for immediate medical assistance. Begin the cooling down process as you wait for their arrival. This may include the following:

  • If water is available, immerse them in a tub of cool water. If they are outside and unable to move, use a garden hose. Another recommendation is wrapping them in a cool, wet sheet and fanning them.

Prevention is much better than the cure. Help your loved one remain hydrated by always providing them with a glass of water in easy reach. Limit alcoholic and caffeinated beverages which can promote dehydration. Suggest that your parent remain indoors during the peak hot hours of the day—usually from about 10am to 3pm depending on their location. Wear lightweight clothing when outdoors and do not engage in strenuous physical activities.
Elderly Care Provider
If your loved one requires assistance with daily tasks or is no longer able to make wise decisions regarding their own health and safety, consider obtaining the services of an elderly care provider. These professionals can help your parent with everyday activities as well as counsel them on correct activities to perform in the heat of the day. They provide the companionship and care so vital to those in their elderly years.

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