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Apr 23, 2015

Hot Weather Tips for the Elderly in Healthy Living

We don’t know how you’d miss it; but just in case you haven’t noticed, we are currently in the middle of Belize’s dry season. The seasonably hot and humid days definitely take a toll on our overall comfort and even energy level. The very young and the elderly though are at even greater risks when the temperatures begin to rise. So tonight on Healthy Living, we asked HelpAge Belize to share some hot weather tips for the elderly.

 

Marleni Cuellar reporting

High temperatures affect all of us; but what is a bearable heat for us – for the elderly – can be a health hazard. One reason is that as we age, the body is not as efficient in regulating body temperature,  also things like heart conditions, medications and even aging skin – becomes thinner makes our senior citizens more vulnerable. For this reason, people caring for the elderly should be very vigilant.

 

Ivorine Bulwer

Nurse Ivorine Bulwer, Executive Director, HelpAge Belize

“It’s important to know that older persons are at high risk for dehydration. You know with the whole aging process, fluid intake reduces and so it is important to give them frequent and small amount of fluids and more so if they are on water pills called diuretics; they are then at higher risk. With the heat currently on, the clothing that they wear, light cotton clothing, the windows are open since it’s windy to experience the cool air and have on the fan.”

 

The emphasis is on keeping them hydrated and cool.

 

Nurse Ivorine Bulwer

“Not only give them the fluids, ensure that they drink the fluids. They’re smart you know, they don’t want to drink much fluids, so when you turn your back they throw it away. So watch them and give them a variety amount of fluids.  So give them a variety type of juices; we have the tamarind that is out right now, we have watermelon we have oranges but we must also be mindful of those who are diabetic. They may need to take a bath two-three times a day. A bath in the morning and at high noon when the sun is high, it may be a great time to give them another bath and one in the evening. Have the fan on and at the same time they can have some ice or cold fluids.”

 

Heat Exhaustion, heat stroke and even heat cramps are all illnesses that result from excessive heat exposure. A heat stroke is a life threatening scenario. So, the primary goal is to keep the elderly out of the sun.

 

Nurse Ivorine Bulwer

“You need to keep them out of the sun because the sun is certainly very hot and that increases fluid loss, and with fluid loss there is the risk of dehydrated. Keep them in a cool place. Some may life to drift around, keep them with a water bottle and time what time they come home because they can certainly be placed at risk.”

 

But again, lessening sun exposure is the preference. If after exposure to the sun, your loved one starts experiencing headaches, nausea, cramps, becomes delirious or faints; you should seek urgent medical attention.  And for those senior citizens who live alone, try to check in on them more often.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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