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How Hot Weather Affects Senior Citizens with Alzheimer’s and Dementia

 

Hot Weather and Seniors with Alzheimer'sWhile it may still be snowing here in Golden, Colorado, it won’t be long before spring, and finally summer time are finally upon us.

Understanding how age relates to bodily functions is vital to unlocking life saving information on how hot weather affects senior citizens, especially those with Alzheimer’s and Dementia. It also helps in devising a plan of action to avoid illnesses and possible fatalities.

The elderly are most vulnerable in extreme weather conditions, as their ability to regulate body temperature decreases. When brain function slows down in old age, it becomes harder for an elderly person to respond to temperature changes. This leaves them susceptible to hot and cold weather conditions. If the elderly person suffers from Alzheimer’s or dementia the issue can be compounded further because they often times don’t understand how to dress appropriately for the weather.

Several Facts on How Hot Weather Affects Senior Citizens

Although, in Golden, Colorado or Lakewood Colorado residents here don’t experience much extreme heat conditions during the year, there are times, like the summer of 2012, when we had record heat of 105 degrees for 5 days in a row, so it is very possible. Every senior citizen should know the facts about how hot weather affects them. Some of the severe effects of hot weather on the elderly include:

* Homeostatic Imbalance – If the body experiences homeostatic imbalance, it could lead to diabetes and cardiac arrest. This is one of the extreme cases on how hot weather affects senior citizens. Many deaths that are reported during extreme heat waves have been attributed to heart failure.

* Dehydration – Senior citizens, many times those suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia, are sometimes unable to detect thirst and may not know when they need to consume more fluids. During these situations, dehydration can occur and can lead to a host of complications due to toxins in the bloodstream. The liver and kidney can be strained, which can cause complications in the urinary tract and expose it to the risk of infections. In addition, nose bleeding can occur, and seniors can experience dry, itchy skin and constipation.

* Heatstroke – If an elderly person has circulatory problems and is also under medications, it can lead to the inability to produce sweat, which makes the body unable to cool itself. This can eventually lead to a heatstroke.

 

Tips on How Seniors Can Prevent Overexposure to Heat

 

* Drink Plenty of Fluids – Drinking a lot of fluids, particularly water, can help to keep senior citizens bodies hydrated. They should avoid caffeinated and sugary drinks as these are diuretics. They can lead to excessive loss of water through secretion. Seniors need to make sure they are drinking enough water during hot weather.

* Use Proper Ventilation – Ensure that rooms are well ventilated when using fans, to avoid circulating hot and humid air within a closed room. If air conditioning is available, make sure that it is functioning properly.

* Observation – You should check on senior citizens periodically to ensure that they are not displaying any signs and symptoms related to heat stroke, such as dizziness, nausea, headache or disorientation. Here at Applewood Our House in Lakewood and Golden where we care specifically for residents who have memory care issues like Alzheimer’s and dementia, we alway keep a watchful eye on our residents.

* Wet Cloth – Offer a wet cloth to place around the back of the neck. This helps regulate body temperature. It is always possible to wet the cloth frequently.

* Take a Bath or Shower – If a senior is able to take a lukewarm bath or shower, you can suggest that they take one, or see that they get assistance to do so.

 

How Hot Weather Affects Senior Citizens – Conclusion

 

If senior citizens are living in an assisted living care facility, or other type of memory care home they should be closely monitored during extreme weather conditions. In the event that an individual suffers a heatstroke, they should be given immediate care. Always remember that you should take necessary precautions. When you do, it can limit the complications of many heat related incidents.

If you have a loved one who is suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia, we would love to talk with you about the current care they are receiving and if there is anything we might do to help you with that care. At Applewood Our House, a memory care home in both Lakewood and Golden, we have wonderful, loving, caring, conscientious staff who can help make sure that your loved one is cared for and cared about. Call or stop by anytime for a visit – we would love to meet you.
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Applewood Our House has four residential assisted living homes for those with memory care needs.

Applewood Our House has a Better Business Bureau A+ Rating.

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6435 Garrison Street
Arvada, CO 80004
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Golden, CO 80401
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Lakewood, CO 80124
303.205.1900

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Lakewood, CO 80228
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