As summer weather approaches, the D.C. area typically experiences numerous
days of high temperatures and humidity, sometimes for several days at
a time. The elderly may be especially vulnerable to overheating and heat
stroke during these heat waves, and some may be unable to find relief
on their own. What can we do to look out for our older friends, neighbors
and relatives during these times of summer heat?
Check In on Your Neighbors and Relatives
If you know an elderly person, whether a neighbor or relative, who lives
alone, take time to look in on her during the hot weather. The following
check list should help:
Make sure she is drinking enough fluids. The combination of heat and humidity can cause the elderly to dehydrate
quickly. Make sure your friend or relative has access to plenty of cool water.
Encourage her to stay inside on hot days. If she must go out, encourage her to wear light-colored clothing.
Make sure her home is cool or well-ventilated. Check to make sure the air conditioner is working, and replace filters
for maximum airflow. If the home doesn’t have air conditioning,
make sure she has several working fans.
Take her to a cool place if the home gets too warm. Offer to accompany her to an air-conditioned location like your home or
a nearby shelter.
If she shows symptoms of overheating or heat stroke, get medical help right away. Symptoms may include dizziness, headache, nausea, fatigue, muscle spasms
Check on the Elderly in Nursing Homes and other Care Facilities
The elderly who live in nursing institutions can be particularly vulnerable
during summer heat, sometimes due to understaffing or neglect. Make a
point of checking on elderly friends and relatives in nursing homes or
similar facilities. Make sure they are being kept cool and hydrated. If
you see any signs of neglect or symptoms of overheating, get medical help
immediately and report the incident to the authorities.
For more information about the dangers of heat stroke, see our post “Six Surprising Facts about Heat Stroke.”
If an elderly loved one has harmed due to nursing home neglect, we may
be able to help. Contact our
Washington D.C. malpractice attorneys to learn more.