Heat and Older Adults

Date:

August 4, 2023

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Heat and Older Adults

People aged 65 years or older are more prone to heat-related health problems. If you’re an older adult or a caretaker, review this post for information on how you or the person you’re caring for can stay safe during the heat.

CARETAKER CHECKLIST

Keep a close eye on those in your care by visiting them at least twice a day and ask yourself these questions:

  • Are they drinking enough water?
  • Do they have access to air conditioning?
  • Do they know how to keep cool?
  • Do they show any signs of heat stress?

Why are older adults more prone to heat stress?

  • Older adults do not adjust as well as young people to sudden changes in temperature.
  • They are more likely to have a chronic medical condition that changes normal body responses to heat.
  • They are more likely to take prescription medicines that affect the body’s ability to control its temperature or sweat.

Stay cool, stay hydrated

  • Stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as possible. If your home doesn’t have air conditioning, contact your local health department or locate an air-conditioned shelter in your area.
  • Do not rely on a fan as your main cooling source when it’s really hot outside.
  • Drink more water than usual and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.
    • If your doctor limits the amount of fluids you drink or has you on water pills, ask them how much you should drink during hot weather.
  • Don’t use the stove or oven to cook—it will make you and your house hotter.
  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Take cool showers or baths to cool down.
  • Do not engage in very strenuous activities and get plenty of rest.
  • Check on a friend or neighbor and have someone do the same for you.

Stay informed

  • Check the local news for health and safety updates.
  • Seek medical care immediately if you have, or someone you know has, symptoms of heat-related illness like muscle cramps, headaches, nausea or vomiting. 

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and prevention, National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH)Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)

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