Seniors are exceptionally vulnerable to summer heat and humidity due to physical changes that come with aging, chronic health concerns, and side effects from medications. As we get older, our bodies do not respond to the high temperatures and humidity as well, and the sweat glands work less efficiently. Sweat glands function as a barometer to cool the body off (like a dog panting). Poor circulation can lead to heat related illnesses such as hyperthermia, heatstroke, or heat exhaustion.
When temperatures reach 80 degrees or more, seniors need to take precautions. Avoid direct sunlight between 10 am and 4 pm maintaining an air conditioning system to keep the temperature indoors between 68-74 degrees. Although energy companies have requested inside temperatures to be elevated to 78 degrees, especially during the evening, to lower the strain on the power grid to conserve energy, seniors are not advised or required to heed this request. If a loved one has subscribed to a Smart Savers Texas promotion, it is important to know, the power company has the ability to automatically raises the temperature in your home when necessary.
To aid airflow make sure your senior has sufficient ventilation in every room of the house. Additional fans are available at no cost to seniors through The Assistance League (936) 760-1151 or the Community Assistance Center (936) 539-9211. Alternatively, you can contact Entergy Texas to learn about how to make your home more energy efficient likely allowing you to save money, allowing the air conditioner to cool the home down at a lower cost. To learn about this program, visit www.entergy-texas.com/residential
If the ventilation in the home is not working efficiently, escape to an indoor shopping facility such as the Woodlands Mall, a restaurant for a cool drink, or even the grocery store. Stay hydrated by consuming water, sports drinks with added electrolytes, or eat popsicles! Avoid caffeinated drinks and alcohol because the ingredients within can cause your body to dehydrate quickly.
It is important for everyone, especially seniors, to be aware of the symptoms of heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and hypothermia. Signs of heat exhaustion can include:
• light headedness
• pale-clammy skin
• extreme thirst
Heat stroke is a life-threatening condition. Should you notice a sudden state of confusion, elevated temperature of over 100 degrees, hot skin with a throbbing headache it is vital you seek IMMEDIATE attention by calling 911.
We care about our community of seniors. Please be aware of symptoms from overheating, stay inside with cool temperatures, and hydrate. The Texas seasons have been relentless, and we expect summer to be as harsh as the winter. Be safe and stay cool while we patiently wait for better fall weather. If you need assistance with cooling resources including weatherization for your home, fans, or services available to seniors please contact our office at Comforts of Home at (936) 647-0674.
Comforts of Home is your local professional resource for your loved one’s senior care at their home. It’s our privilege to serve you! www.YourComfortsofHome.com