Keeping Your House Cool
Record setting high temperatures already! Not only did heat come suddenly, but it came forcefully.
Keep Your House Cool:
Seniors (and also young children) are most at risk because of poor temperature regulation systems. When I visit my parents, I am amazed at how warm the house temperature is. Yes, many seniors prefer warmth and a warm environment. But in a house with no air flow, or living alone, an at-risk elder can get too hot, and too lethargic, to put on a fan or to drink another bottle of water. During heat waves, our homecare staff tries to keep our elderly clients comfortable and hydrated while at home. Sometimes a check-in phone call can help remind seniors to stay safe and replenish fluids.
Dehydration due to the weather is a preventable condition. Keep the house cool by pulling down the window shades which are in direct sunlight. If possible, activities should not be scheduled in the heat of the day. A morning walk is best before the sun becomes too strong. Adequate fluids should be available, and cooler, shaded areas should be used if possible.
Be Alert to Signs of Sickness:
Our aging parents and community elders should be monitored to make certain they are safe. Sickness, fever, or infection can be worsened in the hot summer months due to lack of water intake. For seniors with diabetes, elevated blood sugar levels cause sugar to spill into the urine, which may cause significant dehydration. Be alert to seniors who frequently urinate and/or have excessive thirst. These may be early symptoms of diabetes.
Also, an elder with diarrhea or an upset stomach causing vomiting may lose excessive amounts of water. Diarrhea is the most common reason for a person to lose excess amounts of water. Intense nausea -with or without vomiting – can cause problems associated with dehydration because a senior (or anyone, for that matter) may be unable to tolerate liquids.
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John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions.
Phone: (781) 378-2164