As Temperatures Climb, The CareGiver Partnership Spotlights Heat-Related Illness Prevention in the Elderly

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As the nation heats up, folks age 65 and older are more prone to heat stress than younger people. Dianna Malkowski of The CareGiver Partnership reminds readers they can take steps to prevent heat-related illnesses and stay hydrated while managing incontinence.

Try these easy tips for staying cool and healthy this summer.

Add the combination of staying hydrated while managing incontinence, and summer weather can be a real challenge for the elderly.

High temperatures can be dangerous at any age, but people over the age of 65 should take special health precautions, says Dianna Malkowski, physician assistant, nutritionist and professional adviser for The CareGiver Partnership, a national retailer of incontinence products and other home health care supplies and educational resource for caregivers and seniors.

“People age 65 or older are more prone to heat stress than younger people. They don’t adjust as well to sudden temperature changes and may have health conditions or take medications that change a body’s response to heat,” Malkowski says. “Add to that the combination of staying hydrated while managing incontinence, and summer weather can be a real challenge for the elderly.”

“Whether you’re a senior’s caregiver, relative, friend or neighbor, it’s important to visit older adults at least twice a day and watch for signs of heat stress. Inform your loved ones of the following preventative steps.”

  •     Drinking cool, nonalcoholic beverages (not extremely cold, which can cause cramps).
  •     Individuals limited by how much they can drink — whether because of incontinence, medication such as water pills, or other reasons — should discuss fluid intake with their doctors.
  •     If nutrition and hydration are problems, the elderly should talk to their health care providers or dietitians about nutritionals, such as juices, shakes and powders.
  •     Wearing lightweight, breathable clothing.
  •     Resting and avoiding strenuous activities, including staying indoors in an air-conditioned environment during the hottest part of the day.
  •     Taking cool baths or showers.
  •     Making sure emergency help is available 24/7 by equipping a senior’s home with monitoring and safety tools.

“Never leave an elderly person, child or pet in a car. The temperature inside a car can rise 19 degrees within 10 minutes and 29 degrees in 20 minutes,” says Malkowski. “And leaving a car running with air conditioning turned on is not an option, because passengers can be exposed to carbon monoxide.”

To read more about summer travel, skin care, heat-related illness prevention and more, visit The CareGiver Partnership blog.

Dianna Malkowski is a Board Certified Physician Assistant and Mayo Clinic trained nutritionist specializing in diabetes, cancer, wound healing, therapeutic diets and nutrition support. She serves on the board of professional advisors for The CareGiver Partnership and enjoys working with patients and caregivers alike.

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