Is Grandma living at home by herself? Is she prepared for the blistering hot summer ahead?
Summer is a great time to enjoy a family road trip and “The Great Outdoors” along with soaking up some much needed Vitamin D, while relaxing. BUT, the extreme summer heat may cause Grandma (or anyone else suffering from heat exhaustion) a very serious HEAT STROKE.
Did you read the story in the LA Times titled “Elderly Woman Dies of Heat Stoke After Air Conditioner is Stolen?”
Seems Delores who was age 70 was found dead in her home due to heat exhaustion, two days after reporting that her air conditioner had been stolen. What is troubling is that a neighbor had offered for the lady to stay at her home following the theft….but the lady had said no “she wanted to stay in her own home.”
Yes, We do hear that frequently…”No I want to stay in my home” Grandma may not have her air conditioning stolen, however, her independent streak (often called stubborn or unreasonable by family members) may cause her to be in danger…especially in the extreme heat of the summer.
So the question so what can we do to help Grandma stay cool and avoid the tragedy of heat stroke?
• Is there someone in the family who can check to be sure the size of the portable air conditioner is adequate and in good working condition. Have you seen those portable room air conditions that set inside of the house?
• Dehydration is leading cause of heat strokes. What plans are in place to assure Grandma is
• drinking plenty of water? Maybe tap water needs to be refrigerated in a special container with some lemon wedges or maybe cucumber slices …to drink a glass every couple of hours.
• Maybe a case of bottle water set in the refrigerator for week would help ( that is less that 3 bottle as day—is that enough?)
• How about fruit and vegetable juices?
According to the CDC on average, about 675 people die from compilations related to extreme heat every year in the US. That is more than Tornadoes, hurricanes, floods,lighting or any other weather event combined..
So you can see how serious this problem is ..especially for Grandma’s peer group.
Would a daily check in call give both you and Grandma peace of mind?
Everyone is affected by extreme heat. Our aging parents are more vulnerable to heat problems especially those who have chronic medical conditions. Many heat problems are preventable.
Here are 3 tips to help grandma plan and take precautions to stay cool and enjoy a healthy summer:
Stay hydrated. Instead of hydrating, drinking plenty of coffee, soda, sugared water and alcohol will dehydrate. To stay hydrated, grandma needs to drink plenty of pure water. If she hates pure water, encourage her to add a few slices of lemon. These days you can add strawberry, blueberries, watermelon, mint, apples or oranges to a flavor infuser water bottle for flavor infused water.
Drink plenty of water throughout the day.
Avoid afternoon sun heat index. The National Weather Service issues Heat Index warnings during summer months. Alerts are given when the Heat Index is expected to exceed 105-110 degrees Fahrenheit. Humidity will cause it to be worse. If Grandma runs errands or takes a daily walk keep in mind the afternoon sun is always the hottest. Maybe getting out in the early morning or evening would be better.
Remember the sunglasses, the sun hat and loose clothing and light colored clothing.
Keep draperies closed and shade pulled to reduce the sun heat in the room.
Recently Citymeals in New York City distributed over 24,000 bottles of water to their frail aged neighbors. All summer long they have volunteers ready with bottles of water and checking on their aging neighbors living alone in old apartment complexes.. Check out community services in your area to see if a similar program is available.
— JG Vongerichten (@jeangeorges) July 1, 2014
Reduce baking and oven cooking. Baking and using oven to cook supper may be easy but it also increase the indoor temperature. So if Grandma grills, outdoor cooking is the best way to prepare meals. Studies have shown that meat and protein rich food increase your metabolic heat and increase your water loss…leading to de hydration.
Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables as well as nut during the summer months.
WARNING….. National Weather service tested a vehicle for one hour in the sun when the outside temperature was 80 degrees. After one hour of being in the sun…the inside temperature of the vehicle was 123 degree….and will be fatal. We have all seen the horrible stories or children
being left in an auto unattended and the awful results…..same hold true for the frail and elderly.
Thumbs up for excellent in community services like Citymeals for making sure their older neighbors are staying cool and have enough to eat and drink.
Their advice to the elderly New Yorkers is to
• Drink plenty of water
• Wear light clothing
• Stay indoors
• Limit physical activity
• Use a fan or air conditioner if possible
Keeping in Touch Solutions is here to help you. Would Grandma benefit from a daily check in call just to be sure everything was ok ,and she remembered her medications.. To be sure she had her daily water supply in the refrigerator cooling ~ because that’s what cool grandma’s do!
A daily check-in call could be the lifeline, the joy you give someone that makes the biggest difference in their perception of what old age is like.
Contact me at 317-480-1038 today. Let’s make a difference together.
I’m Diana Beam, Founder of Keeping in Touch Solutions. It is my heartfelt desire for every person to live a happy and healthy life in the place they call home, no matter what their age. You can’t put a price on peace of mind for your parents and yourself. It’s priceless . . . and significant.
For that reason, the goal of every Keeping In Touch Solutions program is to provide a caring connection and service that both the elderly and their caregivers can rely on to make living that good life easier.
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