By Michelle Ingerson, Regional Health Services Director
Many older adults grew up in a time when there was little or no air conditioning at home. With the soaring costs of medications, some older adults avoid cranking up the cool to avoid driving up their utility bills. Have you ever visited an older loved one to find their home stifling hot on a warm summer day? Or noticed confusion, falls or dehydration due to the heat?
The following factors increase an older adult’s risk of heat stroke, dehydration and heat-related illness in hot summer months:
- As we age, our bodies are less able to regulate body temperature.
- Blood thinners cause the body to feel cold and lead to over-dressing in sweaters and coats, even in the heat.
- Poor vision, confusion or early dementia can cause difficulty in setting or reading thermostats.
- A decreased sense of thirst as we age leads to dehydration, confusion and falls.
- Older adults often live alone and their isolation increases the risk of heat-related illness.
Dehydration is a major cause of confusion among older adults. If not addressed quickly, it can result in falls, strokes and other heat-related illness.
At Bethesda Senior Living Communities, we have a special focus on keeping residents hydrated and cool during the hot summer months. You’ll find enticing fruit-infused water stations in spaces where residents gather, and team members offering water to residents in their apartment homes throughout the day. Adequate cooling and hydration every single day are essential to staying active and well as we age, and have been proven to reduce health crises among older adults.
If you are interested in learning more about one of our 19 communities nationwide, please visit our Find A Community page.
Posted on Wed, August 5, 2015
by Shawn Deane