Seniors At Risk for Heat Stroke

If you live in Alabama, Mississippi, Florida or any of our southern neighboring states, this blog is
for you! We all need to be aware of heat stroke signs and symptoms, but our seniors need to be
even more aware of overheating and heat stroke because their bodies don’t adjust to high
temperatures as well and they’re also more likely to be dehydrated. If you are a caregiver, loved
one, or friend, you should be aware of what to look out for to help our aging seniors.

Seniors with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia are at even greater risk because they may not be
aware that they’re overheating or know what to do to cool down.

In fact, 36% of heat-related deaths in the U.S. were among people over age 65, according to a
CDC report. To keep seniors safe and comfortable, we’ve rounded up 10 practical, senior-
friendly ways to help them stay cool indoors.

Why seniors are more vulnerable to heat?
In hot weather, it’s best for older adults to stay indoors and avoid strenuous activities because:
1. Their bodies don’t adjust as well to sudden changes in temperature.
2. Chronic medical conditions can change their body's responses to heat.
3. Prescription medicines can impair the body’s ability to regulate temperature or could
actually prevent sweating.

10 ways to keep seniors cool in hot weather
● Drink plenty of cool water throughout the day (don’t wait until they feel thirsty) and avoid
alcohol and caffeine.
● Eat cooling snacks like homemade popsicles that are light on sugar (Tip: catch drips with
a cupcake liner), frozen peas, or slightly frozen grapes.
● Eat light, cold meals like chicken or pasta salad instead of heavy, hot dishes like pot
● Place a cool washcloth on the back of the neck and a pan of cool water close by to
periodically re-cool the towel.
● Sit with your feet in a pan of cool (but not too cold) water.
● Keep the house as cool as possible by keeping shades closed during the hottest part of
the day and using inexpensive mylar solar curtains.
● Wear layers of lightweight clothing in light-colored, breathable fabrics like cotton so it’s
easy to adjust to the temperature throughout the day by removing or adding layers.
● Visit a public cooling center like a recreation center, senior center, library, coffee shop,
or shopping mall.
● Take a cool shower, bath, or washcloth wipe-down. For maximum cooling, keep the
water just below body temperature.
● Cover up with a flexible ice blanket – always use a towel to protect fragile senior skin
from direct contact with the ice.