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High Temperatures Are Not Regulated Well In The Elderly

Every time the temperatures soar and remain steadily high I think about the elderly. Seniors do not regulate their body temperature like they once did. As we age our body systems slow, and our ability to sweat is reduced, so we are unable to cool our bodies as they overheat. Add illnesses, medications that impair temperature regulation, and lack of sufficient fluid intake to a slowing body and an elderly person is much more susceptible to dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

If you have an elderly relative or neighbor please check on them frequently this week and whenever the temperatures remain high. If they have no air conditioning and you have a fan you can spare, or provide, it will help them to remain cool. Keep curtains or shades closed to reduce the heat from direct sun. Remind and encourage light clothing, and increased fluids. Try and keep their activity to a minimum and their time outdoors brief.

When fluid intake is insufficient, you can provide foods with high water content in exchange. Watermelon, cucumbers, peaches, and other fruits and vegetables have fluid content between 80% and 98%. Soups, sorbets, and sherbet also have a high fluid content, but choose low sodium soups, and desserts sugar free if the person is diabetic.

Some elderly folks have an ordered fluid restriction, and are at risk for fluid overload complications. If that’s the case call the physician for advice on fluid intake during a heat spell.

For more information on the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, the CDC offers information and simple fact sheets you can print and refer to:



Guest blog post by Pedagogy Author Angil Tarach Ritchey:

With over 30 years experience in senior care and advocacy Angil is very passionate about eldercare and is well respected in her field. Angil has written over 60 articles for various websites and publications. Most of her career has been in geriatrics, home health and hospice, but she has held positions in everything from a nurse’s aide to Director of Nursing in LTC facilities, a Nurse Manager in an acute psychiatric prison hospital, and an Infection Control Coordinator for the State of Michigan. She most recently owned a homecare agency for 10 years in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Her experience is more than professional, it is personal. Angil was involved with her Grandmother’s care, who was affected by vascular dementia, and is now providing intermittent assistance to her aging parents, locally and long-distance. She understands elder care, and the role of family caregiver’s.
Angil’s best-selling book titled “Behind the Old Face: Aging in America and the Coming Elder Boom” is a must read! Here are some notable endorsements she has received.

“This book is a must read for the baby Boomer generation. It faces the challenges of aging head on, written with compassion and vision.” −Ken Dychtwald, Ph.D., Author of A New Purpose: Redefining Money, Family, Work, Retirement and Success

“Angil has done a remarkable job illustrating the difficulties facing our seniors today, compelling the reader towards empathy and providing a unique solution to what may be the next major public healthcare debate…the rising cost of caring for our older generations.” − Vesper Patrick | Director, Content Development Nurse Together

“Tarach-Ritchey encourages us to not only reframe our thinking about aging in an empowering way, she also presents us with a practical, nuts-and-bolts solution for the pending baby-boomer retirement wave. She invites us not only to honor the aging process, but provides a means by which we are more able to do so.” − Shayne A. Mason RN, MSN, NP Co-host “Nurse Talk Radio”, Instructor – University of San Francisco 

Angil is also founder of The Elder Boom Foundation.

Pedagogy Education Long Term Care and Home Health Campus website offers many online continuing education courses and inservices  for caregivers related to the care of our elderly. For healthcare professionals and caregivers we have courses to enhance your knowledge and skills to provide the best care to our elderly patients.

To view the accredited continuing education course catalog and inservice catalog click here.

Posted: 5/23/2014 2:15:16 PM
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