Along with the arrival of summer, come the hotter temperatures. While many of us look forward to this time of year, it is important to note that extremely hot weather can be hazardous for our elderly loved ones and especially for those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
Experts explain that the reason seniors are more susceptible to heat related illnesses is a combination of factors such as: “alteration in fluid balance, inability to afford air conditioning or other cooling methods, medications that cause an increased susceptibility to heat stroke (as a result of interruption in normal fluid balance), and more.” In fact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that heat-related deaths in seniors are most likely under reported each year.
For someone suffering from Alzheimer’s, extreme heat can heighten the symptoms of Alzheimer’s including confusion, irritability and dizziness. The risk of heat-related illness in people with dementia can be exacerbated by their being under or overweight, and/or having blood pressure and circulatory issues. The Huff Post’s AlzLive Blog warns caretakers that many medications including those targeted to treat Alzheimer’s can interfere with the body’s ability to regulate heat.
There are several things you can do to help the person stay cool and avoid a heat-related illness. To start with, make sure they drink plenty of fluids (avoid sugared drinks and tea and coffee). Stay indoors during the hottest times of day and have your loved one wear lightweight, light colored clothing. Use air conditioning and make sure their bedding is lightweight and clean. Experts say most importantly remember the individual might not be able to express their discomfort so it may be up to you to notice any changes or distress they are experiencing.
At MorningStar at Bear Creek, we are a team of compassionate, professionals who feel privileged to serve our most “tender residents.” We also consider the care and support of our residents’ family members to be part of our job as we know how traumatizing a diagnosis of dementia can be for the entire family. Please visit our website to schedule a tour of one of the area’s best Alzheimer homes.
MorningStar at Bear Creek embodies the very best in Alzheimer homes with a distinct mission statement of “to honor, to serve, to invest”. With a foundation built on honoring God, valuing seniors and investing in a staff with a felt calling to serve, we offer loving, compassionate care within a beautiful home-like setting. Please contact us to learn more about our exceptional community.