Coping with the Heat and the Elderly: Tips for Selecting an Air Conditioner

There are many concerns for senior citizens during the winter months, but the summer months have its own set of problems involving the heat and the elderly.

 The aging process can cause havoc with a person’s mind and body, and extreme weather conditions and stress can contribute to existing problems. This is an important reason the elderly should have properly working air conditioning units during the hot summer months.

The elderly have a hard time regulating body temperature due to a variety of medical conditions or medications. Many will often feel cold on a hot summer day and insist on staying in doors with the windows closed and no air conditioning. Their body responses to heat may also keep them from perspiring.

This is why the older population is more at risk for getting heat stroke, heat stress, or heat exhaustion. In these conditions it only takes 10-15 minutes for a person’s temperature to rise to dangerous levels. The inability to cool the body temperature through perspiration can be fatal to people in good health and is especially dangerous to senior citizens.

Elderly friends, family, or neighbors should be checked on throughout the hottest summer months to ensure they taking precautions against the heat. Go inside their home during visits to check the inside temperature. Encourage them to drink plenty of water during extremely hot days and make sure they have access to fans and air conditioning.

Do a quick survey to determine if their air-conditioning is functioning and efficient. If they do not own fans or an air-conditioning unit, help them determine where they can find one and the size they will need for their home.

For immediate relief, take them to an air-conditioned location, like a mall or senior community center. Additionally, persuade them to stay away from yard and garden work or offer to do some of those chores for them.

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