Experts Encourage Families to Keep a Close Eye on Older Loved Ones During Periods of High Heat.
Nobody likes extreme and prolonged heat, but such conditions can be very dangerous and potentially deadly for seniors.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), heat is the number one weather-related killer in the United States. On average, excessive heat claims more lives each year than tornadoes, hurricanes, floods and lightning combined www.noaawatch.gov/themes/heat.php.
“The elderly are often the most vulnerable to severe heat,” said Robert Morris, local owner of Home Instead Senior Care® franchise office serving Oklahoma City. “Their bodies do not adjust as well as young people to sudden changes in temperature, they are more likely to have a chronic medical condition that changes normal body responses to heat and they are often on a prescription medicine that impairs the body’s ability to regulate its temperature or that inhibits perspiration,” he continued.
Following are tips from the local Home Instead Senior Care office, to help seniors combat the heat:
• Keep a glass of water in every room to quickly and easily access fluids. Drink plenty of fluids, even if you don’t feel thirsty.
• Go through the closet and remove all heavy materials, long sleeves and dark colors. Instead look for short sleeves, lightweight rayons or cottons, and light-colored clothing that reflect the heat.
• Stay out of the sun during the hottest times of the day. Sunburn makes the job of heat dissipation that much more difficult.
• Save household chores, particularly washing and drying clothes and operating the dishwasher, for evenings when the weather is cooler.
• Relax indoors during high heat times – between 3 and 5 p.m. in the afternoon.
• Keep shades down and blinds pulled during the heat of the day.
• Keep the house tightly closed, so it is more energy efficient.
• Take cool showers or baths to cool down.
• Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Foods with a lot of protein increase metabolic heat production which can, in turn, increase water loss.
• If increased use of a central air conditioning system causes higher utility bills that are a problem for your budget, consider purchasing a fan or small window unit that can cool down a home at a lower cost. However, do not rely on a fan as the primary cooling device during an extreme heat event.
• Seek medical care immediately if your senior shows symptoms of heat-related illness like muscle cramps, headaches, nausea or vomiting.
For more information about the heat, visit the National Weather Service Web site at www.noaa.gov and the Federal Emergency Management Agency Web site at www.fema.gov. Or, to learn more about Home Instead Senior Care, log on to www.homeinstead.com.
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ABOUT HOME INSTEAD SENIOR CARE
Since 1999, Home Instead Senior Care® has been making a difference in the lives of seniors in Oklahoma. Today, as the world’s leading provider of non-medical in-home care services for seniors, we provide personalized care, support and education to help enhance the lives of aging adults and their families. With offices and CAREGivers® in Oklahoma City, Edmond, Norman and Tulsa, we’re part of a network of over 1,000 independently owned and operated franchises that are estimated to annually provide more than 50 million hours of care throughout the United States and 17 other countries. The Home Instead Senior Care® network strives to partner with each client and his or her family members to help meet that individual’s needs and enable seniors to live safely and comfortably in their own homes for as long as possible. Services span the care continuum from providing companionship and personal care to specialized Alzheimer’s care and hospice support. At Home Instead Senior Care®, it’s relationship before task, while striving to provide superior quality service.
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