More than 650 people throughout the United States die each year as a result of heat-related injuries.
The most severe heat-related injury is heat stroke. This is the term used to apply two circumstances when the body severely overheats. It can result when the body temperature hits 104 degrees and can be extremely dangerous. The effects of heat stroke can be fatal, and among those who survived, organ damage, brain damage, and other serious effects can occur. Understanding your seniors’ risk is the first step in protecting them from the potentially devastating dangers of heat stroke.
Some potential risk factors for heat stroke include:
Being over the age of 65. Older adults are at particular risk ask before experiencing heat stroke. Those over the age of 85 are at even higher risk.
Being male. Men experience heat-related injuries and die from those injuries more frequently than women.
Exertion during times of high temperatures. Remember that the degree of activity that is considered exertion may be much lower for an elderly adult and than for a younger adult.
Sudden changes in temperature. Elderly adults have a magical time regulating temperature, and may not be able to cope with sudden increases in heat.
Not having adequate air conditioning in their home. Fans are not sufficient sources of cooling, and should not be relied on as the sole source of temperature control during the hotter months of the year.
Taking certain medications. It’s important to talk to your parent’s doctor about the medications that they take, and find out if they have any side effects that could put them at higher risk for health conditions such as heat stroke.
Certain health conditions such as heart disease and high blood pressure
- Being obese
- Limited mobility
- Cognitive functioning decline
As a family caregiver, one of your most important priorities is making sure your aging parents stay safe and healthy, while also encouraging them to maintain an independent and fulfilling lifestyle.
While there are many ways you can do this, starting home care for them can be one of the best. An in-home senior care services provider can be with your aging parent on a customized schedule designed to ensure they have continuous access to the level of care that is right for them, while also keeping you at the forefront of their care routine. This means your senior can stay safe, healthy, happy, and comfortable, while also pursuing more activity and allowing you to focus your own energy and effort on all responsibilities in your life in the most effective ways possible. This can relieve stress, support better health and well-being, and encourage a stronger relationship between you and your aging parent.