Heat Wave? If Your Elderly Parent Sounds “a Little Different,” It’s Time for a Visit, Expert Says
We’re in the middle of summer now, so here’s your friendly reminder to keep checking on your elderly relatives, especially if a heat wave comes around. Older people are less able to adapt to the heat, and they may not recognize when they’re in danger, reports the Nebraska newspaper Lincoln Journal Star. On top of that, some refrain from using the air conditioner to save money.
“If you have an elderly neighbor or family member check in with them mid-morning and then again after work between 4 and 6 p.m.,” Brian Baker, health education specialist with the Lincoln/Lancaster County Health Department, tells the newspaper.
“If they sound normal, great,” Baker said. “If they do sound a little different than they normally sound, that should prompt you to pay a visit to see if the environment is normal.”
While it may be hard to discern whether the confusion is age-related or heat-induced, [Patty Evans, nurse manager on BryanLGH Medical Center East’s geriatric and orthopedics medical unit] suggests erring on the side of caution.
“If you notice any type of altered mental status, even if it is the slightest bit — don’t ignore it,” Evans said. “Something is always wrong when that happens.
The article explains why the heat is so hard on elderly people and says fans don’t always help.
You may also be interested in the following previous OurParents posts:
- Senior Centers Offer Elderly Respite From the Summer Heat
- 3 Tips to Keep Elderly People Safe in a Heat Wave
- How and Why Seniors Should Beat the Heat
Leigh Ann Otte is a freelance writer who specializes in health and aging issues. She covers finding and paying for senior care for OurParents. If you have any questions about this post or need help finding senior-care options for a loved one, call 1-866-483-4896 to speak with a care advisor in your area.