Caregivers watch elderly carefully during heat wave
Record-breaking heat is in the forecast across the country and right here in East Idaho. The heat is hard on everyone, but for older adults who are particularly vulnerable to the dangers of heat, the extreme temperatures can become deadly. Excessive heat claims more lives than each year than tornadoes, hurricanes, floods and lightning combined.
Senior care companies take great care to ensure that their residents are safe and hydrated in extreme temperatures.
"The elderly are more vulnerable to severe heat because their bodies do no not adjust as well as young people to changes in the temperature," said Jeff Huber, president of Home Instead Senior Network. "They are more likely to have a chronic medical condition that changes the body's response to heat and they are often on a prescription medicine that impairs the body's ability to regulate temperature and inhibits perspiration.
"Hydration is a must. We offer hydrations mugs and make sure that cool water is always accessible." said Casey Wheeler a caregiver at The Willows Assisted Living in Blackfoot. "We serve plenty of fresh fruits and even Popsicles to help hydrate."
Wheeler stressed the importance of drinking lots of fluid even when one doesn't feel thirsty.
Other tips to help stay cool and safe in extreme heat include:
-Where short sleeves, lightweight rayon or cotton fabrics and light-colored clothing that reflect the heat.
-Stay out of the sun during high heat times, usually between 3-5 p.m..
-Save household chores, particularly washing and drying clothes and running the dishwasher, for evenings when the weather is cooler.
-Eat light. Put away that meatloaf recipe for the summer and track down new recipes for fruit and vegetable salads. High protein foods increase metabolic heat production and also increase water loss.
-If increased use of a central air conditioning system causes higher utility bills, straining the budget, consider purchasing a fan or small window unit that cool down a home at a lower cost. Window fans provide an effective way to exhaust the day's hot air during the night.
For more information on staying cool visit www.homeinstead.com.