Helping Elderly Neighbors in Extreme Summer Heat
Good neighboring is a behavior that keeps our inner-city communities strong. When you see an older person struggling during Miami summer temperatures, help if you are able. The elderly are more severely affected by high temperatures and may not have the means to find relief. Being aware and knowing what to look for are key in helping.
Older Residents Are Different Than You
One thing to keep in mind is that the elderly are more vulnerable to heat and the physical stress it brings on. Their bodies do not acclimate quickly to temperature changes. Age can break down the body’s natural defenses against heat, putting seniors at risk of heat stroke, heat exhaustion and related illnesses. Some may suffer from a chronic medical condition that interferes with normal physiological responses to extreme heat. And sometimes, medications they take may block their body’s ability to control its temperature or to manage a normal response through sweating. Stay aware of health alerts through the media and check in with elderly friends and family twice a day to monitor their wellbeing.
How You Can Help
Check in with a personal visit, as the phone contact may not be adequate to gauge their condition. Here are some things to cover:
- Make sure they are drinking plenty of water, staying indoors and wearing loose and light-weight clothing.
- Air conditioning is a must on extreme days. If your family member or friend does not have adequate air conditioning, transport them to a public space such as mall or library where they can find relief. In emergency cases, contact authorities to locate an air-conditioned shelter in your area.
- Encourage them to take cool baths and showers when uncomfortable and to stay out of the sun and avoid physical activity.
- Also – do not use the oven, stove, clothes dryer or dishwasher’s drying cycle during days of escalated heat.
If you come across an elderly resident who is showing signs of heat-related illness such as muscle cramps, headaches, or nausea, assist them in getting medical attention. Heavy sweating, dark urine, weak or rapid pulse, and fainting are serous signs of heat stroke or exhaustion. If you suspect someone’s condition has escalated to heat exhaustion or heat stroke – call for an ambulance.
Family Medical Clinic Kendall is an inner-city health clinic in Miami. We care about our community members in the Miami area. Treating families is our life’s work and passion. As your neighborhood medical clinic, we are here to help you prevent and treat health conditions brought on or exacerbated by the Miami summer weather. We are open late, and no appointment is required. Located at 9000 SW 137th Avenue, Suite 111 in Miami, we offer a walk-in clinic, urgent care and a lab & diagnostics. Call us today at (305) 603-7824 to find out how we can help.