The continuing heat wave is challenging for the elderly who are more likely to live alone, have possible difficulties drinking lots of water, are less able to detect their body is overheating, may live in a apartment that does not offer air conditioning or good cross ventilation, have difficulty accessing cool parts of their house such as the basement and have greater overall health frailty.
As this his unprecedented heatwave continues, the Better At Home Program for seniors ask everyone to please:
• Check on your elderly family members, friends and neighbours in person if at all possible. Make sure they have lowered the blinds, closed the drapes and have fans running – open doors to the corridor of the building if it will help to circulate cooler air.
• Ensure they are drinking plenty of cool liquids and eating as much as possible as their appetite may decrease during the hot weather.
• When visiting take the opportunity to give a cold cloth to the face, the wrists and the back of the neck- if possible have them run their wrists under cold water or see if they can manage a cool or tepid shower- these will all help to bring down their body temperature.
• As much as possible ensure they are wearing cool cotton or other natural fabric clothing. Avoid going outside it at all possible, if necessary make sure they are protected from the sun, wear as wide brimmed a hat as possible. Older skin is more vulnerable to sun burn.
• If it is possible to go somewhere that is air conditioned, such as a shopping mall, a recreation centre, or if your house is cooler, these are good options to consider for the hottest part of the day.
• If there are signs of unusual confusion, vomiting or lethargy call 911 or take them to the nearest emergency department.
• If you are concerned about a senior and you cannot contact them call the local police.
• If you are a senior or you know a senior who needs some help with getting groceries, meals or medications call 2-1-1 to connect with the local Better At Home agency who can offer some services and support .
Source: Office of the Seniors Advocate
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