Extreme heat can have negative effect on people of any age, but the risks are particularly serious to the elderly and the risk factor increases for elderly people who suffer from other medical conditions. Elderly people who live on their own are often on a restricted budget and they may not be as quick to use air conditioners and fans to keep cool because of what it may cost.
Overexposure to heat can lead to heat exhaustion and ultimately heat stroke. Heat stroke requires immediate medical attention and if the proper course of treatment isn’t administered quickly, death can result. Heat exhaustion can be identified by a number of symptoms including feeling dizzy and/or feeling weak. Seniors who already have hindered or limited mobility could have an even more difficult time contacting someone for help or getting someplace cooler and safer if they are weaker and more unsteady on their feet than usual. Increased weakness or dizziness could result in a fall, potentially compounding the seriousness of an already very dangerous situation.
During the Summer months and particularly during bouts of extreme heat it’s of critical importance that our elderly loved ones who live on their own are looked in upon more frequently to ensure that they are dealing with the heat properly. Periodic visits from friends, neighbors and family or increased visits from a home health aide can go a very long way in preventing heat related illnesses and deaths.