Summer Warm Up and Heat-Related Elder Abuse
Keeping elderly people safe and comfortable is a concern for caregivers all year round, but it becomes particularly important during those sweltering summer months. As the temperature starts to rise, everyone is at risk – especially older people whose mobility may be limited and whose bodies aren’t as adaptable to fluctuating temperatures. Older people may also be more susceptible to the perils of high temperatures if they suffer from a chronic illness like diabetes or thyroid disease, or if they take certain medications that impair the body’s ability to cool itself through perspiration. These people are particularly vulnerable to dehydration, heat stroke, and a host of other heat-related conditions that can be dangerous, if not life-threatening. When a caregiver or nursing home fails to provide proper heat-related care to the elderly, it is a form of elder abuse.
Symptoms of heat exhaustion include headaches, dizziness, nausea, and fatigue. If you notice your elderly loved one seems to be suffering from heat stress, call 911, loosen clothing, and spray or sponge them with cool water until help arrives.
Fortunately, there are ways to prevent heat-related illness and injury in the elderly before it begins:
• Check on elderly loved ones more frequently during a heat wave.
Are they keeping cool? Do they seem to be suffering, dazed, exhausted
or in pain? Look for any signs of heat-related elder abuse.
• Make sure they are drinking sufficient fluids. Avoid alcohol, sugary drinks, and salt tablets, unless recommended by a doctor. Water is best, although juices and sports drinks are also helpful in replenishing minerals lost through sweating.
• Keep them clothed in loose and lightweight clothing, and ensure that they are wearing proper sun attire, such as a hat and sunscreen when outside.
• Avoid outdoor activities, especially during the hottest part of the day, and see that they have access to air conditioning for at least part of the day.
Has your elderly family member suffered as a result of heat-related abuse? The elder abuse attorneys at Garcia Artigliere & Medby can help. Call today at (800) 328-2630 or go visit www.lawgarcia.com.