Are you feeling HOT, HOT, HOT?

As I’m sure you’ve heard (and felt!) this week has already shown record-breaking temperatures across the country, and this heat wave is only expected to move further east through the end of this week. Temperatures are expected to break 100 today and tomorrow with a heat index of up to 110! While high heat is usually just an inconvenient downside to summer, when it crests as high as this we should consider taking some precautions. Caregivers, make sure to pay special attention to your elderly loved ones during this unbearable heat wave.

According to The Weather Channel, heat is the number one weather-related killer in the United States outpacing hurricanes, tornadoes and other natural disasters. Soaring temperatures pose the biggest threat to the elderly, the very young, and the ill, as well as those who cannot afford air conditioning or live in the heart of big cities. Check on your elderly neighbors and invite them into your air conditioned home if they don’t have it. (Who knows, you might even trade some interesting stories over a cold glass of iced tea!) If you are living in a big city, the threat is two fold. High temperatures often continue through the night as concrete and asphalt release the heat they’ve absorbed throughout the day, leaving you in a baking oven even in the dead of night. Less obvious but just as threatening is the increase of pollutants in the air (due to the stagnation caused by lack of air circulation) that can irritate those with sensitive respiratory systems. For seniors already suffering from emphysema or asthma, this can be particularly threatening.

Caregivers and family members, keep on the lookout for symptoms of the two most common heat-related illnesses in the elderly: heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Heat exhaustion is defined as a “mild form of shock marked by heavy sweating, weakness, cold, clammy skin, a weak pulse, fainting and vomiting.” If not quickly caught and treated, the condition can possibly lead to heatstroke–a life threatening illness that can result in brain damage or even death if not treated by emergency medical help immediately.

Seniors and those caring for them should take extra care to prevent any ill-effects from this suffocating heat. Ensure that those most at-risk are in an air-conditioned and cool room if possible. If not, you may want to consider temporarily helping them move to a location that does have air conditioning to keep them more comfortable. Of course, make sure to drink plenty of water as well. Even the strongest of us can fall prey to the heat if we aren’t aware and don’t take the proper precautions.

Stay cool!

Source: The Weather Channel

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About Evan H Farr, CELA, CAP

Evan H. Farr is a 4-time Best-Selling author in the field of Elder Law and Estate Planning. In addition to being one of approximately 500 Certified Elder Law Attorneys in the Country, Evan is one of approximately 100 members of the Council of Advanced Practitioners of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is a Charter Member of the Academy of Special Needs Planners.

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