Seniors are at risk for heat stroke during hot weather
Older adults need to be more careful of overheating and heat stroke because their bodies can’t adjust to high temperatures as well as younger bodies can. Also, seniors are more likely to start out dehydrated.
In fact, 40% of heat-related deaths in the U.S. were among people over 65, according to a University of Chicago Medical Center study.
Seniors are more vulnerable to heat because:
- Their bodies don’t adjust as well to sudden changes in temperature.
- Chronic medical conditions can change their body responses to heat.
- Prescription medicines can impair their body’s ability to regulate temperature or could actually prevent sweating.
That’s why it’s best for older adults to stay indoors and avoid strenuous activities in hot weather.
To keep seniors safe and comfortable, we’ve rounded up 10 practical, senior-friendly ways to help them stay cool indoors.
10 ways for seniors to stay cool in hot weather
- Drink plenty of cool water throughout the day (don’t rely on feeling thirsty!) and avoid alcohol and caffeine.
- Eat cooling snacks like homemade popsicles (with cupcake liner as drip catcher), frozen peas, or slightly frozen grapes.
- Eat light, cold meals like chicken or pasta salad instead of heavy, hot dishes like pot roast.
- Place a cool washcloth on the back of the neck and a pan of cool water close by to periodically re-cool the towel.
- Sit with feet in a pan of cool (but not too cold) water.
- Keep the house as cool as possible by keeping shades closed during the hottest part of the day and using inexpensive solar curtains.
- Wear layers of lightweight clothing in light colored cotton so it’s easy to adjust to the temperature throughout the day by removing or adding layers.
- Visit a public cooling center like a recreation center, senior center, library, coffee shop, or shopping mall.
- Take a cool shower, bath, or washcloth wipe-down. For maximum cooling, keep the water just below body temperature.
- Cover up with a flexible ice blanket – use a thin towel to keep the ice away from direct skin contact
Bonus tip: If the heat is unbearable and lasts for weeks on end, consider buying an inexpensive indoor air conditioning unit. Or contact a local air conditioning store or chain store like Rent-A-Center to see if you can rent one.
Recommended for you:
- 6 Things You Can Do to Prevent Heat Stroke in Seniors
- 6 Ideas to Get Seniors to Drink More Water
- Dehydration in Elderly Is a Serious Health Risk
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