If you reside in Upstate New York, you know it’s been a very hot summer, to say the least. And while you may be tempted to take your regular walks outside or spend time in the garden, it’s not always safe to be in the heat for too long. In fact, more than 600 Americans die of health problems related to excessive heat every summer. That’s why it’s so important for seniors to take extra precautions when it’s hot outside.
Those who are older or have chronic medical conditions should be especially cautious of heat-related illnesses including heat syncope, heat cramps, heat edema, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. According to the National Institute on Aging, most people who die from hyperthermia are over 50 years old. Health conditions like heart problems, poorly working sweat glands, kidney disease, being under or overweight, and more put you a greater risk as well.
Signs of Heat Stroke in Older Adults
Excessive heat can cause a handful of medical issues that has a serious impact on the body. Heat stroke, for example, is an extremely serious illness that happens when your body can no longer control its temperature. Without emergency treatment, heat stroke can cause permanent disability or death. Here are some signs and symptoms to look out for:
- Fainting or losing consciousness
- Body temperature rising above 104°F
- Confusion, agitation, and/or slurred speech
- Hot, dry skin, or excessive sweating
If you or someone near you is experiencing these symptoms, it’s important to call 911 right away. Try moving to a shaded area and using water and/or ice to cool off.
How to Prevent Heat-Related Illnesses
When the temperature soars above 80°F, it’s best to be proactive to avoid heat exposure and illnesses. Follow these crucial tips for staying safe in the hot weather.
- Track the weather. Don’t be surprised by the heat and plan to stay inside if there’s a temperature or humidity alert in effect. Make sure to dress accordingly with lighter fabrics like cotton.
- Find air conditioning. If you don’t have air conditioning in your home, find places that do and spend time there. At Eddy Senior Living, all of our communities are air-conditioned to keep our staff and residents cool during the summer months.
- Stay hydrated. Make sure to drink plenty of water, and avoid alcohol and caffeine. Fruits and vegetables can also help with hydration. At Eddy Senior Living, we provide fresh, wholesome, locally grown, and produced chef-prepared meals available for residents.
- Go for a swim. Stay cool in the water and even get a bit of exercise while you’re at it! We have pools available at our Glen Eddy and Beverwyck communities for residents with water aerobic courses and a variety of other activities through our EmpowerU Wellness Programs.
- Avoid sunburn. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen lotion or spray with 30 SPF or higher to any exposed skin. This includes your face as well.
Having a full staff of trained professionals to monitor your health during the hottest time of the year is key in preventing the effects of heat exposure and illnesses. At Eddy Senior Living, we offer Independent Living and a variety of supportive care services for seniors in the Capital Region, including dementia care, assisted living, and respite. Contact us today to get started or call (518) 280-8385.