Check on elders during extreme heat

By: Amanda Brown Email
By: Amanda Brown Email

ARDMORE, OK-- The Centers for Disease Control said extreme heat like this kills more Americans each year than hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes and floods combined.

Health experts are urging everyone to be careful but one group in particular is more susceptible to heat illnesses.

Experts said that older adults are at higher risk of heat-related illnesses so doctors urge all of us to check on the elderly.

Mark Lewis is an RN for aspire home care. He said there are several reasons older adults are susceptible to heat illness.

"They don't have the thirst mechanism as strong as we have, they don't realize they're getting dehydrated because they don't feel thirsty" said Lewis.

Lewis said they're also not able to regulate their body temperatures as well.

"A common occurrence as we get older we lose that ability to regulate quite so well so they get real hot before they realize they are that hot" said Lewis.

Jessica Pfau is the executive director of Ardmore village, an elderly residential community. She said in this heat staff take extra safety precautions for residents.

Making sure their AC is always working and making sure their homes are cool enough.

"One of the things we noticed is that seniors are concerned about their electricity bills and so they tend to turn up their air conditioners and they don't notice how hot it's getting in their homes" said Pfau.

Pfau said there about 200 elderly residents who live at Ardmore village and it is important that family, friends, and even neighbors check on them frequently in this heat, especially those who live alone.

" We want our neighbors to check on each other. It is so important, if you haven't seen your neighbor in the morning you might want to make sure that she's okay because sometimes they don't understand how the heat can really get to them" said Pfau.

"it's so important that we check on the elderly frequently in theses heat waves like this because it doesn't take long" said Lewis.

For more information on heat related illness and programs to help visit:

http://www.aarp.org/health/healthy-living/info-08-2012/check-on-elderly-extreme-heat-ok1907.html

http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/elderlyheat.asp


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