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Record High Heat: Caregivers Watch Elderly Carefuly

June 30, 2013

BLACKFOOT — 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 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 do 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.

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