Older Adults and the Changing Seasons- Extreme Heat and Cold

As the season’s change, temperatures also change, and in some case it’s drastic. Older adults can be more sensitive to the changing weather conditions. Hypothermia, increases their risk of heart disease and kidney or liver damage, especially if they have a history of low body temperature or have had hypothermia in the past. Older adults can get hypothermia while indoors if outside cold weather persists.
In order to ensure that your loved ones are safe and comfortable at home, it is best to have additional blankets on hand for when the weather is chillier. Also, encourage the older adults to drink or eat warm drinks like tea and foods like soup or hot meals.
On the other hand, if the temperature starts to rise and cause heat waves, it is necessary for older adults to be cautious and take measures in order to stay cool.
One of the reasons why the older adults are at risk for heatstroke is dehydration. A dehydrated body is no longer equipped to regulate its temperature for several reasons. The blood becomes more concentrated and thicker as fluid levels decrease. This increased viscosity forces the cardiovascular system to work harder to maintain the blood pressure. An increased heart rate can be problematic for a frail person with a compromised system. It can cause fainting and exhaustion fairly quickly.
Keep a close eye on those in your care by visiting them at least twice a day, and ask your older loved ones the following questions:
• Are they drinking enough water?
• Do they have access to air conditioning?
• Do they know how to keep cool?
• Do they show any signs of heat stress?
It is important to check on the older adults during the fluctuation in weather to make sure that they are safe and healthy.

Images: https://www.pexels.com/photo/abstract-beach-bright-clouds-301599/

Sources: https://www.cdc.gov/aging/emergency-preparedness/older-adults-extreme-cold/

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